Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Word of Wisdom

Ah, the Word of Wisdom. One of the best known set of rules in the Mormon church. But, I'd say, one of the least understood.

Every good mormon -- and even non-mormons -- know that they're not supposed to drink alcohol, coffee, tea, or smoke tobacco. The especially good ones extend this command to include anything with caffeine.

But... what does this commandment actually say?

Here it is in full. Then my breakdown. Yippee!

THE
DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS
OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, February 27, 1833. HC 1: 327–329. As a consequence of the early brethren using tobacco in their meetings, the Prophet was led to ponder upon the matter; consequently he inquired of the Lord concerning it. This revelation, known as the Word of Wisdom, was the result. The first three verses were originally written as an inspired introduction and description by the Prophet.

1–9, Use of wine, strong drinks, tobacco, and hot drinks proscribed; 10–17, Herbs, fruits, flesh, and grain are ordained for the use of man and of animals; 18–21, Obedience to gospel law, including the Word of Wisdom, brings temporal and spiritual blessings.

1 A aWord OF Wisdom, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion—
2 To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the aword of wisdom, showing forth the order and bwill of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days—
3 Given for a principle with apromise, adapted to the capacity of the bweak and the weakest of all csaints, who are or can be called saints.
4 Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of aevils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of bconspiring men in the last days, I have cwarned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—
5 That inasmuch as any man adrinketh bwine 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, apure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.
7 And, again, astrong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.
8 And again, tobacco is not for the abody, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.
9 And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.
10 And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome aherbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man—
11 Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with aprudence and bthanksgiving.
12 Yea, aflesh also of bbeasts 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 csparingly;
13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be aused, only in times of winter, or of cold, or bfamine.
14 All agrain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;
15 And athese hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.
16 All grain is good for the afood of man; as also the bfruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground—
17 Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain.
18 And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, ashall receive bhealth in their navel and marrow to their bones;
19 And shall afind bwisdom and great ctreasures of dknowledge, even hidden treasures;
20 And shall arun and not be bweary, and shall walk and not faint.
21 And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the adestroying angel shall bpass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.

Okay, here we go:

1 A aWord OF Wisdom, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion—
2 To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the aword of wisdom, showing forth the order and bwill of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days—
3 Given for a principle with apromise, adapted to the capacity of the bweak and the weakest of all csaints, who are or can be called saints.
4 Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of aevils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of bconspiring men in the last days, I have cwarned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—

This is just an introduction. Blah, blah, God makes promises, thus saith.

5 That inasmuch as any man adrinketh bwine 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, apure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.

Okay, so only drink wine during church for the sacrament. Check. And the wine you do drink, you need to make it yourself. Check. Well... so now they just drink water for the sacrament instead of wine. But okay, I still see the rule not to drink wine.

7 And, again, astrong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.

No liquor, either. Check. At least, don't drink the vodka... it's just to wash yourself with! Anyone out there bathe in "strong drinks?" Hm...

Moving on.

8 And again, tobacco is not for the abody, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.
9 And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.

No tobacco. Check.

Hot drinks? What exactly does this mean? This is where they get the rule "no coffee or tea." Okay, sure, those can both be served hot. Or cold. What about apple cider? Hot chocolate? Hot buttered rum? Oh, wait, that's a strong drink, I suppose (wink, wink). I'm not sure why they picked coffee and tea to fall under "hot drinks," but not the others.

10 And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome aherbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man—
11 Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with aprudence and bthanksgiving.

Herbs, eh? Now we're talking! Okay, but seriously, eat herbs and fruits that are in season. Check. I'll have to ask my family out in Utah why they're picking up strawberries from the grocery store in January. I'd say they're probably not in season in the winter, in Utah. Maybe there's an exception for shipping from Latin America... I'll keep my eye out for that.

12 Yea, aflesh also of bbeasts 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 csparingly;
13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be aused, only in times of winter, or of cold, or bfamine.

Only eat meat in the winter or during famine. Hmmm, I don't remember hearing that in church. Or, at home, when we had our meat'n'potatoes every night for dinner. I wonder if any mormons choose to follow this. Makes me curious... "hot drinks" means no coffee or tea, but meat "only in times of winter" means meat whenever you want. Interesting...

14 All agrain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;
15 And athese hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.
16 All grain is good for the afood of man; as also the bfruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground—

Okay, grain is the staff of life. Check. Reminder in 15 that meat is just to be eaten during famine. Back to grain. Eat grain and fruit. I'm assuming that fruit "in the ground" would include vegetables. Sounds good to me! I like grain, fruit, and veggies!

17 Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain.

My FAVORITE verse. Okay, wheat, corn, blah blah. Wait, what's this? Barley for mild drinks? Hmm... back up in 7 they told us no "strong drinks." But mild drinks made from barley are a-ok. As any non-mormon can assure you, the other name for "mild drinks made from barley" would be "beer."

So, the Word of Wisdom seems to be giving the okay for beer. Is there any other mild drink made from barley that you see mormons (or anyone else, for that matter) drinking?

18 And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, ashall receive bhealth in their navel and marrow to their bones;
19 And shall afind bwisdom and great ctreasures of dknowledge, even hidden treasures;
20 And shall arun and not be bweary, and shall walk and not faint.

These verses I always found fun. If I listen to this, I'll have marrow in my bones and I'll be able to run and run and run without getting tired. Super.

21 And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the adestroying angel shall bpass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.

The final verse. God will save you. Amen.

So, let's review.

Good to have:
  • homemade wine (for the sacrament)
  • herbs and fruit (in season)
  • meat (during winter and famine)
  • grain, fruits, vegetables
  • beer
Bad to have:
  • non-homemade wine
  • strong drinks (except for washing)
  • hot drinks
  • tobacco
  • herbs and fruit (not in season)
  • meat (unless it's winter or famine)
Not included on this list:
  • caffeine (including coffee, tea, cola, chocolate, energy drinks, ginseng, etc.)
It seems to me that the Mormon church is cherry picking their rules. I'd like to see one of them come out and say, "Stop eating so much meat!!" Because that's actually in their rules!

And the beer part... good times.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Newton's Eve!


The Ten Days of Newton

On the tenth day of Newton,
My true love gave to me,
Ten drops of genius,
Nine silver co-oins,
Eight circling planets,
Seven shades of li-ight,
Six counterfeiters,
Cal-Cu-Lus!
Four telescopes,
Three Laws of Motion,
Two awful feuds,
And the discovery of gravity!

Update on YFZ

Texas polygamist ranch report details child abuse

Tue Dec 23, 2008 3:24pm EST

By Jim Forsyth

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - Child neglect and abuse were widespread at a Texas polygamist ranch with at least a dozen girls forced into underage marriages, according to a report released by state authorities.

The report, released late on Monday, said most of the cases had been closed because of subsequent steps taken by parents since massive raids were launched in April against the polygamist compound in a remote corner of west Texas.

The report by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is the latest chapter in a saga that gripped the state with lurid tales of adolescent brides married to older men under the cloak of a secretive sect practicing its religion on an isolated ranch.

Texas authorities raided the Yearning For Zion Ranch outside the small west Texas community of Eldorado in April, removing over 400 children in response to an abuse complaint.

The compound was run by a renegade Mormon sect called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which still practices polygamy. The sect practices an austere lifestyle and the women dress in conservative pioneer clothes.

Multiple marriages were once common among U.S. Mormons but the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints renounced the practice over a century ago and is at pains to distance itself from the FLDS and other polygamist groups.

"Twelve girls are confirmed victims of sexual abuse and neglect because they were married at ages ranging from 12 to 15," the Texas report said.

It went on to say that 262 other children "were subjected to neglect because parents failed to remove their child from a situation in which the child would be exposed to sexual abuse committed against another child."

Texas authorities have been criticized for their handling of the case and the massive show of force used in initial raids on the compound.

In May, a court ruled that Texas overstepped its authority when it removed the children, a ruling upheld by the state's Supreme Court. That led to the return of the children to their parents, but investigations were allowed to continue.

The Department of Family and Protective Services report said that of the 439 children involved, the state had ended cases involving 424 children "because the family has taken appropriate steps to protect the child from sexual abuse or there was no abuse or neglect in the family."

"There are pending lawsuits in the cases of five mothers and their 15 children," it added.

The Texas Attorney General has filed charges ranging from bigamy to sexual assault against 12 men in connection with the case. One is the group's jailed spiritual leader, Warren Jeffs, who was convicted in 2007 in Utah of forcing a 14-year-old girl to marry her first cousin.

(Additional reporting and writing by Ed Stoddard in Dallas, editing by Todd Eastham))

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Jack Black rarely disappoints

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Monday, December 01, 2008

Looking back

I just dug up my old journal. I rarely wrote in it growing up. But, I read over this entry last night.

Age: 15

Hi. I think I need to start writing in my journal again. I need somewhere to release all of these thoughts going around in my head. As I just read over my entry [from 2 years ago], I almost cried. Was I really once that strong in my faith and testimony of the gospel? It's hard for me to believe that now. Everyone thinks that I'm this perfect little girl who just knows all the answers at church, reads the scriptures and prays on a daily basis, writes in her journal every night, and doesn't have any problems at all. I just want to scream at them! I'm not perfect! I have my own problems - they may seem minor to someone else, but they're trials to me. I mean, I like watching R movies, I want to cuss, I like bikinis and shorts. I'm not proud of it, but it's true. I don't have a testimony anymore. Whenever any spiritual topic comes up I feel awkward so I tune out and don't pay attention. When people ask me my feelings about the church, etc. I don't know what to say. I feel stupid and just give the typical answers they'd expect from me.

I hate my life. Well, I can't say I hate it - I mean it could be worse, I could be worse. But every now and then I just get to where I hate myself and I think I'm so ugly. Don't get me wrong - I'm never suicidal or anything - but you can't say I'm very uplifting. I do have my Patriarchal Blessing and I do want it to happen, but... it's so hard. I think I only go to church on Sunday out of habit. I mean, I want to grow closer to God, and I pray for it to happen... and for a day or so I'm really spiritual and I realize all this stuff I need to start and stop doing, and then I'm back to my old self and that stuff doesn't seem important to me anymore. I really want to return to the Celestial Kingdom, but it's a real trial and a struggle for me to do what's right. I used to have a piece of paper on my wall with a saying on it that I wrote myself that said, "Is it not worth it to spend a few mere years in this life facing ridicule and rejection than to spend an eternity in sorrow knowing that you could have done well enough to live with your Father in exaltation?" It seems so simple. Don't worry what others think. Stay strong in the gospel. So what if people make fun of you. It won't matter what they said when it comes to your judgment - it's how you reacted to it. But it's not that easy. It used to be. In 7th and 8th grade I didn't care at all what anybody thought of me and I was a "spiritual giant." Now look at me - I'm lower than the dirt upon this earth. At least it obeys what it's supposed to do. Why can't I do that? There's a girl - S____ something in the L_____ Ward. T_____ laughs and makes fun of her, but I'm actually jealous of her. She is the strongest spirit I know - and I don't even know her, I've just seen her. She totally follows every standard - long shorts, nothing revealing or too tight. I mean, if she lost 10 pounds she could be the biggest tramp - she has like size DD cup or something, but she's not. I admire her and look up to her strength. I just wish that someday my testimony can be as strong as hers. And then there's guys - why does it have to be a member? That totally limits my options to like, 2 guys that live anywhere close to me. And 16? It sucks so bad!


I know I seem like a terrible person and well, I probably am. I don't want to be but... that's how it goes. I hate doing stuff with my family, watching people take the sacrament doesn't make me feel humble, it just looks funny (yeah, funny-ha ha). I don't know what's wrong with me. I guess the next time I have something to say, I'll write. Till then...

My response today.

I don't even remember writing this. When I look back to my youth, I remember sometimes feeling hopeless in middle school. I'd bottle up all of my anxiety and then break down every few months, sobbing as my mom held me. But, when I think of high school, I always think I was pretty happy. Reading over my journal now, I see that I've blocked out the bad feelings I had then. I was severely depressed. Not in my memory, though. In fact, after a few more entries even worse than this one, there are about 20 pages (rather, remnants of pages) that have been ripped out. I have no idea what I had written there. I don't remember ripping out the pages, nor why I would have done that. Well, obviously to prevent whatever I wrote there from every being read. It's all blocked out, though. I don't remember.

That was 12 years ago. Not 20, or 30, or 40. Only 12.

But that's not why I decided to write about that on my blog. Believe me, I'm not the type to go spreading the fact that I was severely depressed at the age of 15 around on the Internet.

It's why I was so depressed.

Because I liked R-rated movies, cuss words, bikinis, and shorts.

That is all.

It makes me so sick and angry today to look back and realize that I was disappointed in myself, that I was disgusted with myself, that I hated myself... because I liked R-rated movies, cuss words, bikinis, and shorts. At the age of 15. Because my parents and my church TAUGHT me that if I liked those things, I was a sinner. That I was not worthy. That I couldn't get into heaven. That I would lose my family. For eternity.

Because I liked R-rated movies, cuss words, bikinis, and shorts.

That church gave an otherwise healthy, happy, 15-year-old girl such a skewed vision of life that she beat herself up and hated herself for not living up to their picture of a perfect young woman. That I beat myself up and hated myself for not being the picture-perfect young woman that everyone told me I HAD to be, in order to be loved by others, by my family, by god.

I thought that I was a terrible person. Because I liked R-rated movies, cuss words, bikinis, and shorts!

I am seething right now. How dare an organization that claims to be family-oriented and "Christ-like" continue to spew their lies! They made a 15-year-old girl hate herself!!! For not being "good enough."

Damnit!! I WAS GOOD ENOUGH!

I am good enough.

I was so fucking brainwashed that I couldn't see past their bullshit. When I didn't get answers to my prayers, I blamed myself for not being spiritual enough. When I felt awkward and uncomfortable at church, I blamed myself for not being receptive enough to the spirit. When I couldn't get through the Book of Mormon without giving up or falling asleep, I blamed myself for not trying hard enough. For not wanting it enough. For not being good enough.

I don't blame myself anymore.

I blame that church. I blame my teachers at church. I blame anyone who continues to deny reality and continues to tell 15-year-old girls that they're just not good enough. That maybe, if they just wanted it a little more, or if they just tried a little harder, maybe then god would answer their prayers. Maybe then they'd realize that they were special.

Go fuck off.

You ARE good enough. You ARE special.

I am good enough.

Shame on you.