Your Friday Firestorm #9

And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man— Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving. 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. All grain 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; And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.

(D&C 89:10-15)



  1. john scherer says:

    “fowls of the air”

    Someone once told me that we can eat all the chicken we want, after all they don’t fly. That might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

  2. cj douglass says:

    This reminds me of when I was serving my mission in Provo. My first area was BYU campus and one of the first people I taught was a Seventh Day Adventist student. He told me how his respect for the church had gone sour after reading section 89 then going to the cafeteria and finding very little w/o meat in it. “Welcome to Utah”, I said.

    But concerning the validity of the scripture in our day. I don’t understand how we can take anything but a literal interpretation. It means what it says: eat meat sparingly or even not at all. The question then becomes – what is the consequence of not living this law. Anyone ever felt the Holy Ghost leave a steak dinner?

  3. I thought this article Artemis linked to on FMH was a fascinating additional argument against overconsumption of meat. It’s not terribly surprising meat produces a larger carbon footprint than plants, but it was amazing to me just how much CO2 is emitted during meat production.

    A friend of mine is doing a master’s on the influence of diet on the isotopic composition of human hair, looking specifically at the “supermarket diet”–the more and more homogeneous diet Americans consume. Turns out that for every man, woman, and child in the US, something like 60 or 70 lb of boneless beef is produced every year (the USDA has statistics somewhere, but offhand I can’t locate them). According to this article the US is one of the largest consumers of meat (not much of a surprise there).

    I’m definitely a meat eater myself, but the more I hear about meat and its health and environmental effects, the more I think the “sparingly” in the above paragraph is key.

  4. The Rastafarians use Psalms 104:14 to justify part of their religious practice:

    He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man…

  5. I’ve heard before that back in the days when D&C 89 was given that it was quite common to see every meal have this huge portion of meat next to some supplementary veggies and such. Like, meat was the meal. Is that true? Because well today we really don’t eat as much meat as we used to if it is the case.

  6. cj douglass says:

    Medical marijuana anyone?

  7. cj douglass says:

    true Dan. “sparingly” is a tricky word.

  8. I went without meat for 5 years and I do think I was more spiritually sensitive during that period of my life.

  9. Dan–I’d bet that was not the case, at least for most people. The animals that we slaughter for food today would have been more valuable for the other products they could produce (milk, eggs), or for the work they could do. Because meat requires more resources to produce than just about any veggie, it should be more expensive than vegetables, assuming the cost reflects the resources put into its production. Perhaps those who were wealthy could afford to eat as you describe, but most people were almost certainly eating potatoes, grains, and whatever veggies and herbs they could grow.

  10. This post at Splendid Sun is mostly about entries in Brigham Young’s office journal, but it contains this statement about meat consumption:

    February 24, 1860 (pg. 42)
    President Young in the course of his remarks alluded to the zeal of Hyrum Smith, brother of the Prophet, in his views of the Word of Wisdom, who prophesied that every Saint who chewed tobacco would apostatize. President Young observed, he [i.e., Hyrum] prophesied by Hyrum Smith and not by the Spirit of the Lord, and the he (Hyrum) would eat about 3 lb of fat pork in a day; and yet be so sever upon a tobacco chewer;

  11. I imagine that a big fatty steak or a fast food double bacon cheeseburger is probably worse for your body than an occasional beer . . . speaking strictly from a health perspective, of course.

  12. Julie M. Smith says:

    “about 3 lb of fat pork in a day”


  13. FWIW, at least according to Pollan and his Virginia beyond-organic farmer, there are certain seasons in which animals should be slaughtered. With our factory farms and artificial insemination and corn-fattened beef (and, of course, asparagus from Argentina in the middle of our winter), we tend to forget about the seasonal nature of food. But it’s not only plants that are seasonal (although, the good city boy that I am, I don’t know offhand what the proper seasons for various types of meat are). Even unfarmed salmon has a season, again, in spite of our current demands that every food we want be available whenever we’re in the mood for it.

  14. Julie,
    Have you ever had a flour tortilla (or, for that matter, a pie crust) made with lard, rather than butter or shortening? It’s seriously infinitely better.

  15. CJ,

    “But concerning the validity of the scripture in our day. I don’t understand how we can take anything but a literal interpretation.”

    Why don’t we take a literal approach to what it says about alcohol or hot drinks? Not that I necessarily disagree with your point, but the WoW is the most obvious passage of scriputre that we arbitrarily pick and choose what is literal and what is figurative .

  16. The evolution of the Word of Wisdom is quite interesting.

    I find it odd that we so fiercely adhere to (and enforce) the prohibition against tea (apparently a “hot drink” to which the revelation refers), the health risks of which are relatively mild, while almost entirely ignoring the warning against excessive meat consumption, which likely presents a greater threat to one’s health.

    I tend to think of Section 89 as a mere starting point for the conception of the Word of Wisdom, rather than a comprehensive or absolute text. If we insisted on a strict adherence to the letter of Section 89, then it would applied “not by commandment or constraint,” Latter-day Saints would be allowed to drink beer, all drinks served at an elevated temperature would be forbidden, and we would be eating little meat these days.

    But almost from the beginning, we have interpreted, added to, or (at least in practice) taken away from the original revelation.

  17. Regarding comment #2, the WofW definitely advocates meat-avoidance, but it doesnt require strict vegetarianism. The meat avoidance is in the admonitions section (v. 10-17) of D&C 89, not the prohibitions section (v. 4-9). There are no specific curses associated with failure to observe the admonitions of v. 10-17, only blessings offered in v. 18-21. Those who choose not to observe v. 10-17 will not reap the blessings offered in v. 18-21. That doesnt necessarily mean they will die young of a heart attack and/or be unspiritual, only that they are passing over offered blessings of better health and greater spirituality.

    Regarding comment #5, see here.

    On comment #10, it is not likely Hyrum did this often, as that amount of meat would have been quite expensive and given their relative poverty over most of their lives such an indulgence would have been a luxury.

    I am surprised nobody has posted this yet:

    While making their camp at the close of the day after crossing the Embarras River in Indiana, the brethren discovered three prairie rattlesnakes, which they were about to kill. The prophet called to them saying, “Let them alone-don’t hurt them! How will the serpent ever lose his venom, while the servants of God possess the same disposition, and continue to make war upon it? Men must become harmless, before the brute creation; and when men lose their vicious dispositions and cease to destroy the animal race, the lion and the lamb can dwell together, and the suckling child can play with the serpent in safety.”* The brethren took the serpents carefully on sticks and carried them across the creek. “I exhorted the brethren not to kill a serpent, bird, or an animal of any kind during our journey unless it became necessary in order to preserve ourselves from hunger. I had frequently spoken on this subject, when on a certain occasion I came up to the brethren who were watching a squirrel on a tree, and to prove them and to know if they would heed my counsel, I took one of their guns, shot the squirrel and passed on, leaving the squirrel on the ground. Brother Orson Hyde, who was just behind, picked up the squirrel, and said, ‘We will cook this, that nothing may be lost.’ I perceived that the brethren understood what I did it for, and in their practice gave more heed to my precept than to my example, which was right.”

  18. Kevin Barney says:

    In this sentence,

    And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

    the comma after “used” was only added in 1921 by James Talmage, and did not appear in prior editions of the D&C. So the original wording was

    And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

    which some interpret as a “meat-a-go-go” provision, meaning essentially “please don’t limit your consumption of meat to times of winter or cold or of famine, but eat it all the time, baby!”

    Personally, I think Talmage got it right (even though I’m a carnivore and something of a hypocrite on this issue).

  19. Talmage definitely got it right.

    Another thing to remember in the historical context is people back then were rarely dying of heart disease, which is relatively common now. Back then people died of cholera and malaria and simple bacterial infections were lethal, women dying in childbirth was a major mortality source. Today, by virtue of eliminating so many other factors, what we eat has a greater likelihood of impacting or mortality rates and quality of life.

    I am a vegetarian who eats dairy and eggs, and I take fish oil capsules, but do not eat any fish or any other meat, so any die-hard vegan wouldnt consider me a vegetarian. Heart disease runs on my mother’s mother’s side of the family, so between the diet and the fish oil, my triglycerides are nice and low. I want to be around for my kid’s high school graduation and all that good stuff. Do I feel more spiritual? Whenever that comes up, this quote rings true: “Vegetarianism is harmless enough, though it is apt to fill a man with wind and self-righteousness.” -Robert Hutchinson

  20. cj douglass says:

    Good point. Truth be told, if the Brethren endorsed a more literal interpretation, I’d be at the local pub sippin a Guinness faster than you can say *moderation*.

    This reminds me of a DA on my mission. The mother began venting that Mountain Dew (Coke, Pepsi etc.) drinkers should not be worthy to hold a recommend. My companion proceeded to point out the assortment of stuffed animals (not the teddy bear kind) in the home (racoon, cougar, elk). Ofcourse, I understand the necessity of wildlife management but still – they were asking for it.

  21. I think meat consumption during the early 19th century in many ways may have been more prevalent than today. The journals of the members of the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1803-1805 indicated that the men of the company consumed on the average about 5 pounds of meet per day, even when other alternatives were available. In comparison, my wife and I and one son left at home probably don’t eat 5 pounds of meat per week total.

  22. cj, why do you think a “more literal interpretation” would mean you could be having a Guinness?

    kevinf, wouldnt the Lewis & Clark expedition not be particularly representative of the typical diet, given they would not be practicing subsistance agriculture, but would have to travel with whatever they could preserve via salting or drying, hence the huge amounts of meat? As they were out in the wild and were constantly traveling, their diet would have been atypical. I would have to assume that during the summer months the typical colonial diet would have less meat and more fruits and vegetables, and the reverse in winter owing solely to the difficulty of preserving fruits and vegetables without modern conveniences.

  23. ED

    I believe he is referring to v. 17, that says mild drinks made from Barley are ok. Correct me if I’m wrong cj.

    Kyle #15, Amen!

  24. and every fruit in the season thereof;

    Is this a prohibition against canning?

  25. ED,

    Probably not representative, but even when they were in camp with the Mandan tribe over the winter of 1803-1804, and then wintering over at Fort Clatsop near present day Astoria, Oregon from 1804-1805, they continued to pursue a meat-heavy diet, by choice. I also wouldn’t think that preserving meat would have been any less difficult than preserving fruits and vegetables for the average 19th century family.

    I have also heard the opinion that an absence of what we now have in terms of refrigeration and freezing could have been some of the reason for the caution in the WOW on meat.

  26. cj douglass says:

    Yes, v. 17 it what I was referring to. Its a stretch but oh well…

  27. Steve Evans says:

    BrianJ, alas no. For the Saints shall be doomed to can peaches, yea, each summer.

  28. Kevinf,
    I suspect the ED’s right; mostly when travelling, they wouldn’t have access to agriculture. Meat is relatively easy to preserve: you salt it or smoke it, and it’s fine for a long time. You don’t need any particular containers.

    For fruits and vegetables, you need some sort of container. Today, at home you use Mason jars (my wife and I have been canning the last couple weeks); industrially, you use tin or aluminum or something. Mason jars break, and both are heavy. Plus, if you look here, it appears that vacuum sealing inside glass jars wasn’t invented until 1809 and tinned food was a novelty for the rich classes until the mid-1800s.

    In addition, even when they were settled down, they may have just been used to eating lots of meat, and uninterested in changing their diets just because they could. Or eating meat may have added to the aura of the explorer; the fact that they ate lots of meat, though, isn’t necessarily indicative that lots of meat was generally eaten by (especially) the poorer classes.

  29. Matt Thurston says:

    “Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air… 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…”

    Serious question, and I’m assuming for sake of the question that this is a bona fide revelation:

    Does God really talk like this, or is this how Joseph Smith thought God talked?

  30. California Condor says:

    Matt Thurston,

    God is probably a polyglot. Moreover, isn’t it Mormon doctrine that he speaks a pure, Adamic language?

    I think Joseph Smith infused a lot of Shakepsearean-era English into his revelations. He was under the influence of the King James Bible. So maybe at times Joseph Smith got ideas from divinity, and then as Joseph Smith laid those ideas out in word form, he used the same language that was in the KJV. Joseph Smith probably had a lot of reverence for the Bible, so when God communicated with him in a direct manner, perhaps God used 17-th century English because He knew Joseph Smith would reverence things said in such a language.

  31. Regarding American meat consumption, Roger Horowitz’s Putting Meat on the American Table (Baltimore, MD: JHU Press, 2006) states: “Deducing the actual volume of meat consumption [in early America] can only be inferred, as there were few true consumption studies until the twentieth century. One source is the meat allowance for widows (specified in wills), which rose from 120 pounds in the early 1700s to over 200 pounds by the early 1800s. While we do not know if these wills were implemented, such allowances indicate popular expectations of what constituted an abundant supply of meat….During the same time period standard meat allocations for slaves in the South averaged around 150 pounds per capita. National estimates deduced from livestock-production statistics place per capita consumption in the 1830s at 178 pounds. These sources do give us some confidence in suggesting an average annual consumption of 150-200 pounds per capita per person in the nineteenth century” (p. 12).

    “A meat eaten cured rather than fresh, pork was America’s preeminent meat before urban growth and home refrigeration made beef more accessible. In 1880 almost 50 percent of all pork was consumed in the form of ham or bacon….Given the extensive (and often unreported) practice of home slaughtering…these official census figures almost certainly understate the true level of Americans’ pork consumption….[E]ighteenth- and nineteenth-century Americans highly valued and consumed wet-cured pork. Sarah F. McMahon’s careful studies of probate inventories indicate the popularity of this form of meat….While poorer estates were less likely to have salt pork stores than more prosperous ones, nonetheless 50 percent of the estates valuing between $100 and $200 in 1835 contained salt pork, compared to 75 percent of the estates between $400 and $800. And it is noteworthy that this barreled meat was a significant enough asset to appear in probates at all” (pp. 43, 46).

  32. Steve Evans says:

    I wish I could quit you, Justin.

  33. California Condor says:

    If any of you are suffering from an addiction to veganism, vegetarianism, or pescetarianism (veganism that permits seafood), I have the cure for you. Here in the Phoenix area we have a chain of luxury boutique grocery stores called AJ’s Fine Foods. If you’re ever in town, ask a local where the nearest AJ’s is and stop by and order a roast beef sandwich. The quality of the roast beef is so high that eating the sandwich will be one of the most gratifying experiences of your life. Trust me, you won’t be worrying about D & C 89 as you bite into this gourmet sandwich loaded with about an inch an a half of this beautiful rosbif. The rest of the day you will feel so physically fulfilled that your mood will actually change. You’ll feel like a million dollars. As a bonus, with your sandwich at AJ’s you get your choice of a variety of side salads as well as a small square of gourmet chocolate (sometimes they give me a brand of chocolate from South America, sometimes they give me a brand from German-speaking Europe, and sometimes they give me a brand from San Francisco).

  34. I am always amazed at how much members can justify their own dietary habits using the Word of Wisdom. Seems pretty clear to me: if you want to be healthy, eat little or no meat, eat wheat for your staple, eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, don’t use tobacco, alcohol, or tea. That’s about it, and it doesn’t say anything about exercise, which I find interesting since everyone assumes that’s how you stay healthy (not according to the Lord’s Law of Health).

  35. What I found interesting over the past few years is the prevalence of the recent “fad” diets (Atkins / South Beach) and how they go almost completely against the WoW (lots of meat / no carbs)

  36. A cold Odouls is always refreshing.

  37. Thanks, ED and Justin.

    I’ve reviewed my own meat consumption, and decided that the 5 pounds per week that my wife and son and I consume (he’s 19) probably is a bit light. 5 pounds would represent what we would buy at the supermarket, and would not include any meals out. I don’t think we eat a lot of fast food, but who knows about my son? We stopped at a Wendy’s the other day on the way to the doctor. I had a single with cheese, and he had a triple stack. That’s an additional pound right there. Probably more like 8 pounds a week is more accurate. Given that that is closer to 3 pounds per person per week, that may not be all that different from the 178 pounds that Justin refers to. Add to that the fats that are in a lot of the other processed foods that we consume, and…..

    It’s starting to make me feel queasy.

  38. Steve Evans says:

    Ron: “it doesn’t say anything about exercise, which I find interesting…”

    Not me. Exercise was not a particular concern for those engaging in frontier living in the 1800s.

  39. Julie M. Smith says:

    Sam B.! There’s a little difference between a pie crust made with lard and THREE POUNDS of pork fat in a day!

  40. Julie,
    So maybe he ate a lot of pies?

  41. Talon (23), if that is the case, our contemporary beer wouldnt fall into that category, see the comments on this thread.

    CC (33), when people stop eating meat their digestive systems stop producing the enzymes necessary to digest it. So, if you suddenly eat a big pile of it, you end up with a brick in your gut and a stomach ache. This happened to me once a while back when I got invited over to dinner and the wife served my plate with a heaping pile of pot roast. Rather than make a scene I choked it down and went home and laid down for the rest of the day. Now, I have heard of some people who dont go through this, but if I stopped at your beefateria there, believe me, it wouldnt cure me of my “addiction” as it would send me running.

  42. Ok,so here’s what goes through my mind when i read this:

    ” all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man”
    first makes me wonder if pot is alright, then I figure he just means medicine and homeopathy.

    “Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof”

    shoot, I don’t even know their seasons. I try to think of a few of my favorites and yep, I have no clue when they’re in season.

    “Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air…they are to be used sparingly; ”
    Ok, that seems clear- meat and poultry sparingly.

    “And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.”
    I can’t figure what this is even trying to say. don’t eat them except in winter? it’s pleasing if you use them always but not pleasing in wintertime? I’ve read up on the commas and ways of reading this and still whenever I see it it’s so awkward a phrase, I’m never sure I know what it says.

    oh, no “hot drinks” and “mild drinks” ? aw… ok I supose I’ll stop now :)

  43. cj douglass says:

    If you’re ever in town, ask a local where the nearest AJ’s is and stop by and order a roast beef sandwich. The quality of the roast beef is so high that eating the sandwich will be one of the most gratifying experiences of your life. Trust me, you won’t be worrying about D & C 89 as you bite into this gourmet sandwich loaded with about an inch an a half of this beautiful rosbif. The rest of the day you will feel so physically fulfilled that your mood will actually change. You’ll feel like a million dollars. As a bonus, with your sandwich at AJ’s you get your choice of a variety of side salads as well as a small square of gourmet chocolate

    this slays me!

  44. Steve Evans says:

    Alas, cj, it also slays poor Bessie.

  45. California Condor says:

    Extreme Dorito,

    I’ve also caught traces of reports on the radio of vegan couple malnourishing its baby. Maybe those enzymes that you speak of are part of being a well-fed, healthy human being.

    With all due respect, you are mischaracterizng the gourmet grocer that I mentioned. AJ’s is a fine dining experience. You can find the highest quality gourmet food items there (European cheeses, mineral water, sushi, and fine wines-for any non-Mormons reading this). They serve all kinds of patisseries and coffees (again, for non-Mormons) as well. And, again if you’re not Mormon, it’s probably a good place to pick up rare micro-brew beers. They also have a bistro sandwich menu that includes “Traditional Fare” sandwiches in addition to their “Elite” and “Signature” sandwiches. Included in their selection of “Traditional Fare” sandwiches is a basic roast beef sandwich. All I was saying is that the quality of the roast beef is so high that it will knock you’re socks off. You’ll savor it.

  46. California Condor says:

    cj douglass,

    Try the sandwich and then you’ll be singing a different tune.

  47. Yes, cj’s mild attempt at malt barley based humor was obviously misguided.

  48. So I ate Mexican food last night, shrimp fajitas, and since I ate so much, I stayed up til after 1am nursing my sore stomach. I guess that what the Lord is talking about with eating meat sparingly is that not that we will be so much more spiritual, but we won’t be distracted from spiritual things due to tiredness and bloated stomachs.

  49. CC,
    Those stories are popular in the news. The thing is, vegans don’t drink milk, which is central to my daughter’s diet, and may or may not understand basic nutrition. Basically, a baby cannot be a vegan and be healthy, and I’ve heard people argue that a nursing mother also shouldn’t be a vegan.

    There are certain proteins that are harder for a vegetarian or a vegan to get without meat, but they are available—and even in non-supplementary forms. Hindis are vegetarian, if not vegan (and will tell you that Indian restaurants that serve meat dishes are inauthentic), as are certain Buddhists, I believe. So there is a long history of non-malnourished groups of people not eating meat, and some not eating any meat products.

    As for myself, I haven’t found a vegetarian cuisine that does it for me, although my family doesn’t eat a ton of meat. Also, for ethical reasons (basically, I try to buy ethically-raised meat to sustain the market for treating animals ethically—if everybody who cared about animals stopped eating meat, only those who don’t care would be in the market, and they would be unlikely to pay the higher prices for ethical treatment, even though free-range generally tastes better in addition to being better for one’s conscience). Also, I like meat and fish in small amounts.

    Nonetheless, whether for health, ethical, environmental, or religious reason reasons, there are strong arguments to be made for vegetarianism. The example of vegans just illustrates that it shouldn’t be forced on someone too young to choose (or, at least, doctors and nutritionists should be kept well within the loop, and they probably will recommend against such a diet for the child).

  50. Sam, come over this year for Thanksgiving — Tofurkey!

  51. Steve,
    If travel weren’t such a pain over Thanksgiving, I’d totally take you up on that! (Plus, I’m still trying to convince Jamie that tofu is real food: know any good tofu recipes (where the tofu isn’t just pretending to be some sort of meat: I still grimace at the thought of those NY1 ads for the slab of tofu with steak sauce featuring the chipper animated tofu guy; did you ever see those?)).

    Your place = best Thanksgiving ever.

  52. The best starting point for tofu, I believe, is Thai or Vietnamese food. Green curry with tofu, or a nice Pho with grilled tofu, etc. Grilled tofu appetizers were Sumer’s gateway into the magical world of bean curd. Now she eats it all the time. Baby steps.

    That was a helluva Thanksgiving, wasn’t it?

  53. Actually, better: Your place tofurkey = Best. Thanksgiving. Ever.

  54. Why did my plus sign not show up?

    Your place [plus sign] tofurkey = Best. Thanksgiving. Imaginable.

    ‘Cause yeah, it was pretty sweet.

  55. CC, “Maybe those enzymes that you speak of are part of being a well-fed, healthy human being.”

    Not the case. My health is just fine and I havent eaten meat for >10 years. Sam B is correct. Meat is absolutely not an essential part of the diet in a climate where a diverse set of fruits and vegetables are available year round. In protein-starved environments, well, that is a different story, and in those cases, the Lord says, “Eat up.” As for the hard-core vegan family who starved out their kids, they are idiots. You want to nit-pick organic, ok, I can understand that, but, vegan? Not with kids. I am the only vegetarian in my family and if any of the others go veg, it will be their choice.

    SE, Tofurkey=yuck, pass the sweet potato casserole and stuffing.

    But, seriously, lets say the Church took a more activist stand on these matters. It took like what, ~100 years to codify and enforce the WofW regulations enforced now, right? So if we start now, will it be another 100 years before we have a Church of meat avoiders?

  56. California Condor says:

    Sam B. and Extreme Dorito,

    Fair enough. I can see the motivation for choosing vegetarianism / veganism. But I think it’s important for parents to nourish their babies, and if that means playing it safe and having nursing mothers eat roast beef, then I think that’s the way to go. Personally, I like the taste of meat and I find it tremendously satisfying.

    Extreme Dorito, you raise a good point about the alcohol / tobacco prohibition laxity in the Church until Heber J. Grant’s presidency. The problem is that there a lot of things listed in our canon of scripture that we don’t take literally. Alcohol and tobacco are more deleterious to human health than meat, so I’m not sure if we’ll ever take D & C 89 literally and add meat to the Word of Wisdom.

  57. I’m really surprised that Non-Winter Meat Eater isn’t here!

    And if I could eat three pounds of bacon everyday, I’d be happy for the rest of my rather short life!:) Heber now has an even higher level of admiration on my part.

    Since it’s on the sidebar – I’m just wondering if it’s ok to drink our own homemade whiskey! (We wouldn’t be suffering from the wicked plans of evil men!)

  58. Sam B., I second the recommendation for Thai or Vietnamese. But here’s an easy tofu recipe that’s always a big hit at my house.

    Get a package of extra-firm tofu (I think that’s 14 ounces). Drain and pat dry. Cut into half-inch-or-so dice.

    Trim half a pound of snow peas and cut into bite-size pieces.

    Grate a cup and a half of carrots, or be lazy like me and buy them pre-grated (might be called shoestring cut).

    Have handy: 4 ounces of bean sprouts and a half-cup of stirfry sauce.

    Put on a pot of water. When it starts to boil, toss in a couple of packets of ramen (I use three because my kids love noodles). Be sure not to toss in the seasoning packets. Cook the noodles for 3 minutes, reserve a quarter-cup of the cooking water and drain.

    Meantime, fry the tofu in your wok with some oil until the pieces start turning a nice golden-brown color. Then put in the pea pods, carrots and bean sprouts and stirfry for a couple of minutes. Add the contents of one of the seasoning packets (or more if you prefer) and a quarter- to a half-cup of stirfry sauce to the water, then toss that in the wok. Then mix in the noodles.

    My eldest two children (ages 9 and 12) have chosen to be lacto-ovo vegetarians out of concern for animals. The rest of us eat meat sparingly. Besides tofu, we also eat lots of legumes.

  59. California Condor says:

    My eldest two children (ages 9 and 12) have chosen to be lacto-ovo vegetarians out of concern for animals.

    With all due respect, aren’t these kids a little too young to be worried about lacto-ovo vegetarianism? Why not let them enjoy life and buy them a darned Happy Meal every once in a while?

  60. CC: “Alcohol and tobacco are more deleterious to human health than meat”

    You sure about that? Maybe from a dietary standpoint, but there is every indication that from an environmental point of view, meat is about the worst thing a person can eat.

  61. #59

    I propose a meat credit trading system whereby meat eaters can buy meat credits from non-meat eaters. In this way I would be able to live a meat neutral lifestyle.

  62. CC, I have already counter-brainwashed my kids into saying “McDogFood” instead of “McDonalds” and eagerly wait for them to get a little older so I can show them _Super Size Me_. We go to Wendy’s as a last resort, and I prefer local diners or something like that over fast food. We need to teach our kids early on to be deliberate about what they eat, and not be easily manipulated by the media and stupid catch-phrase spouting clowns and cartoons. I’m lovin it. Whatever. If I had Bill Gate’s money I would buy McD’s and turn it into a actual restaurant that serves fresh food made by real people, not industrial by-products manufactured on an assembly line. How is letting a kid eat garbage fun? Because they get to live out the commercial fantasy? Whatever, Ronald.

  63. California Condor says:


    I do vaguely recall something about how it takes more energy to produce a calorie of meat than a calorie of grain because of how cows eat the grain etc. etc. or something like that. That may be true but I think that livestock is still a renewable resource, and if there’s demand for it agricultural technogoly will become more and more efficient until it gets to the point where it’s not an environmental problem and if people like meat and are willing to pay the higher per-calorie price for it to enrich their dining experiences and their lives, then they should have the freedom to do so.

  64. CC, where are you getting your claims from in the 2nd sentence?

  65. To what extent should we be concerned with eating fish? Are there health and/or environmental concerns, aside from farmed salmon? I notice that sec. 89 only mentions the beasts and fowl, so am splitting hairs to think that fish is OK?

  66. California Condor says:

    Extreme Dorito,

    I agree that fast food is generally revolting. Yet I still have fond childhood memories of eating Big Macs. I think my parents were pretty moderate in how much they let me eat. So I think it’s a good thing to feed children fast food sparingly. So nice work. But I also think children should not have to worry about vegetarianism at a young age.

    I do have to say that “Super Size Me” was a little bit of a let down. I watched a lot of it illegally on a website, fast-forwarding through parts of it. I was let down because the star/director did not experience as much of a drop in health as I thought. Considering that he ate only McDonald’s, I thought that the changes in his body were pretty minor and quite unremarkable. The movie actually gave me the impression that McDonald’s really doesn’t traumatize the human body that much at all.

    And I think we have to give McDonald’s credit for making their menu healthier. Perhaps the vegan movement should also take some credit for changing society enough to influence the Golden Arches. So maybe kudos all around are deserved.

    In any event, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking a kid to get a cheeseburger at McDonald’s if he/she gives a talk in primary.

  67. Mark,
    The MSM has recently been taking notice (people who focused on it probably knew earlier) that seafood, as it turns out, is not a renewable resource. As we get into fads with certain fish, we risk overfishing them, especially larger fish. So right now bluefin tuna (I believe, tragically, because I love it) is in danger of overfishing, and Chilean sea bass is at serious risk. Farming is good, apparently, with some fish (like tilapia) and bad with other fish (like salmon).

    The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a great resource for what seafood is and isn’t doing well; I keep their little east coast cheat card in my wallet.

    Also, bigger fish (like swordfish) can contain mercury, which is bad for small kids and pregnant women.

    But this is all incident to, or outside of, the WoW; this is more like a stewardship thing (or, if you disagree with me, an obsessive thing).

  68. Mark IV,
    My comment was just eaten, maybe because of the link. In summary of what it said, there can be significant environmental concerns and concerns about renewability related to seafood. The Monterey Bay Aquarium, , has a great guide explaining what is good and bad for the environment to eat, and I keep their card in my wallet (because I love, love, love fresh seafood).

    Plus, big fish (like swordfish) can be the source of a lot of mercury, so small children and pregnant women especially should avoid some fish. All the pregnancy/baby books say which ones.

  69. California Condor says:


    I was thinking about how mankind’s ability to produce food has made leaps and bounds over the course of history. I think it’s reasonable to assume that our farming technology will continue to get better (of course, the organic crowd might not always like this technology). If there is demand for technology that doesn’t harm the environment and people are willing to pay for it, then maybe we’ll see agricultural technology that doesn’t leave a large carbon footprint or whatever.

  70. Sam B. # 66,

    Thanks, that was an informative link.

  71. I stopped eating a lot of red meat awhile ago…I don’t even know why. Don’t think it was a conscious choice, I just found myself liking white meat (chicken or turkey) and fish a lot more.

    Every once in awhile I’ll start thinking a big hunk of red meat sounds good, and I’ll make something like beef teriyaki or shishkababs. Ugh, it’s horrible.

  72. California Condor says:

    Susan M,

    Why are you talking about eating red meat as if it’s something to be ashamed of? Embrace it. Be proud of those shish-ka-bobs.

  73. With all due respect, aren’t these kids a little too young to be worried about lacto-ovo vegetarianism? Why not let them enjoy life and buy them a darned Happy Meal every once in a while?

    Heh. They’ve seen “Super Size Me.”
    Seriously, they made that choice with zero coercion from their parents; we went over the ramifications with them and have done our best to support their choice, including providing plenty of protein from alternative sources.

    While relatively uncommon, it isn’t unheard-of for kids to swear off meat. At this age, it’s almost always because they don’t want to eat animals.

    There are still four omnivores in the house, though, so if we ever find ourselves in the Valley of the Sun, we surely will check out those cow sandwiches you mentioned in post 33.

  74. I just finished reading a book called “The China Study” that has a lot of fascinating information about how bad meat really is for you, with a lot of science to back up its claims… it essentially links the western diet high in meat products with our problems of heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses.

    I’m a pretty skeptical reader generally, and I’m sure that there’s always different ways to view the data and come up with different conclusions, but still the way this book was presented makes a very compelling case for switching to a diet free of meat products, and living mostly on a whole foods diet based on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. I’m planning on switching my diet in the beginning of September to see how it pans out. Taco Bell will be losing a hefty chunk of yearly income due to my absence.

  75. I was a vegetarian for 17 years. I tried some chicken about two years ago, and and gradually sliding back into in my veggie ways.

    I don’t give a hoot what other people eat.

  76. Actually, I think that most of the kids who swear off meat are used to seeing animals talk in Disney (and now Pixar) movies. How could you eat vennison after watching Bambi?? :(

  77. California Condor says:

    if we ever find ourselves in the Valley of the Sun, we surely will check out those cow sandwiches you mentioned

    I find it regrettable that you would libel such a fine sandwich in this manner. It’s a Traditional Fare Roast Beef Bistro Sandwich. You can choose from 15 different types of bread (I usually just go with whole wheat). I forgot to mention that in addition to a side salad and a square of gourmet chocolate it also comes with a pickle wedge. It’s heaven.

  78. Did someone call? Sorry I’m late, but I had to finish my Fuddrucker’s Triple Bacon Cheeseburger with two breaded chicken breasts substituted for the bun, and extra large side order of pork rinds, and I was having a little chest pain, but I am feeling better now, except my left arm kinda hurts some…so what’s up ya’ll?

  79. I generally stay out of WofW meat discussions, since “sparingly” can mean so many different things. (Total amount? Frequency? Seasonally? Compared to what absolute standard? Based on body type? Varies by gender and age and other health factors? etc.)

    Tracy M.’s last sentence in #75 said it perfectly for me: I do my best to live the principle as I understand it and don’t pay attention to anyone else. How much meat someone else should eat never crosses my mind.

  80. California Condor, I meant that when I do eat red meat, it makes me feel horrible, physically.

  81. California Condor says:

    Ray, you can’t have it both ways. Either admit you’re a red-blooded Republican carnivore or come out of the closet as a vegan eco-terrorist.

  82. You forgot the fried salmon, NMWE! That complements the sandwich perfectly!

    Susan – are you cooking the red meat? That might answer the question as to why you feel horrible after eating it! :)

  83. i’m surprised no one has mentioned the scriptures that support the eating of meat (1 tim. 4: 1-3 and d&c 49;18).

  84. 83# Those scriptures are pretty specific. Perhaps when you consider both “ be used sparingly” and “..received with Thanksgiving”, what the Lord wants is for us appreciate His gifts. If we were to kill and eat animals without thought, we would become calloused towards it. However, if we do it with gratitude that the Lord has provided for us, we will be blessed.

  85. tesseract says:

    I’ve been vegetarian for about 10 years now. It’s not a big deal for me since I never really liked meat that much in the first place. My husband LOVES meat, and I was so surprised when about a year ago he decided to eat less meat – now he only eats fish. For both of us it was a very personal and spiritual decision.

    I fed him tempeh (with veggies, rice noodles and green curry sauce) for the first time last night and he loved it.

    Oh, and I found an interesting article on a Vegetarian website recently that has to do with LDS beliefs and vegetarian principles:

  86. cj douglass says:


  87. Omniverous says:

    In case you didn’t look it up:
    1 Timothy 4:1-5
    1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
    2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
    3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
    4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
    5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

  88. Brad Kramer says:

    Best article I’ve ever read on many of the topics addressed here. Should be required reading for LDS who think seriously about implications of the WoW:

    Click to access Harper_s_Manning_The_Oil_We_Eat_04.pdf

  89. I just wanted to post comment #89.

    More later.

  90. Kevin Barney says:

    One thing to be aware of is that KJV “meat” is not necessarily animal flesh. In Jacobean English the word has a broader connotation, which is archaic today. So in the 1 Timothy passage quoted above, the Greek word rendered “meats” is brOma, which literally means “that which is eaten,” and should be rendered more broadly as “food.”

  91. Okay, I’ll leave a real comment at #89.

    “And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine. the comma after “used” was only added in 1921 by James Talmage, and did not appear in prior editions of the D&C.”

    I don’t think the comma changes the meaning. Cross-reference to: “the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.” (Section 121)

    In D&C speak, “only” means “except.”

  92. Is there an ethical rationale that makes sense in an LDS context for not consuming meat? I know that the WOW is worded in terms of health and spiritual growth, and we typically assume that the latter stems from the former, or from the obedience element (‘no reason not to except God said so’).

    I readily acknowledge that there are plenty of in-your-face, self-righteous vegetarians. But might there be spiritual benefits from doing without meat with the right intention?

  93. greenfrog–I don’t think you can say from a reading of the WOW that one should be vegetarian if one wishes to be spiritual. I do think the word sparingly is crucial to our application of the WOW in both the physical and a spiritual sense. I laughed out loud a couple of conferences ago at the story of a woman not wanting to say the nightly family prayer because she ate too many sweet rolls, but as I consider that story more, I think that idea–the overindulgence dulls the spirit–is really the important take-home lesson we should be pulling out of the WOW, not the laundry list of “don’t eat/drink/smoke/ingest.” But that’s my personal take on it.

  94. I am always amazed at how much members can justify their own dietary habits using the Word of Wisdom. Seems pretty clear to me: if you want to be healthy, eat little or no meat, eat wheat for your staple, eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, don’t use tobacco, alcohol, or tea. That’s about it, and it doesn’t say anything about exercise, which I find interesting since everyone assumes that’s how you stay healthy (not according to the Lord’s Law of Health).

    I think this attitude misses a lot Ray, and just might be dangerous. I’ve heard the WoW described as “The Lord’s Law of Health” before, and it always mystifies me, because that’s certainly not the way the Lord describes it, nor is there any indication that it is an exaustive treatment of the subject or that it even attempts to cover all parts of a healthy lifestyle.

    It’s couched in terms of a dietary guide. That’s all. We shouldn’t try to turn it into more than that (without the counsel of the prophet especially), nor should we assume that, because one thing or another is not included, it’s not important. We don’t need a revelation to tell us that exercise is good for us, and any idea that says it is not just because it is not discussed in the WoW is clearly wrong.

  95. That’s not my quote, MCQ. That was Ron in #34. I feel exactly like you do about calling it “The Lord’s Law of Health” – and have said so often.

  96. Sorry, I meant to say Ron, not Ray. I guess I just can’t resist typing your name Ray, ya big lug.

  97. I skimmed the comments for this (but not throughly). At any rate, a tidbit I read in the New Yorker a while back may shed some light in the physical blessings of devoting yourself to Section 89’s admonitions. For starters, vegetarians—one study shows—appear to on average hold a higher IQ than those members of any other broader or more limited consumers of food. There’s the twist: strict vegans, it seems, have the lowest IQ, lower than meat-eaters, and much lower than vegetarians.

    Some interesting quotes:

    There was no difference in IQ between strict vegetarians and those who classed themselves as veggie but still ate fish or chicken.

    …vegans – vegetarians who also avoid dairy products – scored significantly lower, averaging an IQ score of 95 at the age of 10.

    This study raises so many questions into the nature of vegetarians and the nature of people. Such questions might include whether people who are more intelligent are also more likely to feel compassion (probably if we were to visit a slaughter house, we’d all push our plates away), or is there somehow causation going on: that is, is eating fruit and veggies making us smarter. I hope for the latter, of course.

  98. Extreme Doritos:

    And Doritos (which I assume you enjoy, from your name) are healthy? Oh yeah, bring on the MSG.

  99. greenfrog (92), prior to the covenant with Noah the consumption of animal flesh was prohibited (cf. Gen. 9:3), the resulting approval to eat animal flesh resulted in the fear between man and beast (cf. Gen. 9:2), which was also referenced by Smith in the quote from comment #17. We would assume from this that the relative peace of the Garden of Eden, at least between humans and animals, continued from the Fall until the Flood (I realize this is a gross simplification of lots of issues and glosses over oodles of nettlesome textual and biological/ecological issues, but for the purposes of a top-down sort of general spiritual discussion it is good to ignore the difficulties of reality for the moment).

    Various eschatological scriptures dealing with the Millennial reign of Christ depict it as a time where the Garden of Eden will be restored, at least in some fashion (i.e., presumably no pre-Fall naivety), and they suggest a return to vegetarianism (cf. Isa 11:6-9, Isa 65:25). The general context of peace and the end of enmity between man and beast go hand in hand with the vegetarian theme.

    Portia (98), no, I dont actually like Doritos. The handle is a result of an accusation thrown at me once.

  100. ED,

    I find your arguments interesting and persuasive. Could you please explain further your views on the consumption of fish, given that you take fish oil capsules?

  101. I didnt take fish oil capsules until about a year ago, when my triglycerides started crossing over the 180 threshold. They have been steadily climbing for the past several years and there is a history of heart disease on my maternal side. They wrote a prescription for something or other and I decided to try the fish oil instead. I take 2000mg three times a day with the meal and it dropped my triglycerides back down to 110. If its going to keep me alive longer and the only side effects are occasional fish-flavored burps, then I would rather do that then take some wacky chemical invented in a lab that potentially has weird side effects (niacin makes it feel like your skin is crawling). Some people take flax seed oil and get the same effect, but studies have shown that it is not as effective as the omega-3 fatty acid fish oil. I never bothered with trying out the flax seed oil, if I was truly hardcore I would have tried that first.

    Even way back when I used to eat meat, I didnt like fish all that much. Occasionally I would eat some salmon if it was fresh or some catfish, but that whole fish smell/taste really repulses me, purely a matter of taste. So, yeah, I could rationalize that I may as well eat fish given the fish oil capsules I already eat, but the reality is I think fish is nasty. And that goes for anything vegetarian that is fishy flavored, including seaweed, which makes me wretch.

    Word of caution if you are looking to lower your triglycerides with fish oil: when starting taking them, for the first week or so, you will get really bad fish burps afterwards, especially if you dont take them with a full meal. The first time I took them it was early in the morning before I left for work and it was with a granola bar and some water. About 10 min into the ride I burped it up and nearly ralphed right there on my steering wheel. I was choking it back because I didnt want to blow chow in my car. It was really bad, and is one of the favorite family stories now as I reenact it with no small exaggeration. So, moral of the story is when you start doing it, spend the money to get the enteric coated “burpless” kind, and after you work through the first bottle switch over to the regular. Also, be sure the brand you get have no detectable mercury in them. I buy from Costco and the brand they carry has none in it, and they carry both the enteric and the regular variety, the enteric being about twice the price for half the count.

    I do try to be principled about my vegetarianism, but, honestly, it is a result of a combination of aesthetics, religion, ethics and, to no small degree, my past personal experience in the food service industry. I dont believe cows are people too, and the PETA people are a bit over the top for me as I would not be one to wear a lettuce bikini (much to the relief of all) to advocate the cause, and think animal testing is in principle a good thing.

  102. Thanks ED. 180 to 110, that’s amazing.

  103. #84 MCQ. Ooh I’m dangerous. Just search for “Lord’s Law of Health” and see what you come up with. Thanks to all who helped proved my point. We all “know” that one needs to exercise to be healthy. I disagree. Exercising can (not always) make you fit. That’s not the same as healthy. Only healthy eating will make you healthy.

    And for all you that are misinterpreting the two scriptures about forbidding or commanding others to abstain from meat: I’m not doing that. I am choosing not to each much meat for myself, and it’s not because I think some animals are sacred or that animals should not be eaten out of some principle that we should not eat other mammals. It’s because it’s not as healthy, just like the Lord said.

    So eat your meat, eat whatever you want. I don’t care. But when I show up at the ward BBQ and don’t have any cancer-causing, burnt, nitride-filled, quarter-pound slab of cow meat fed the wastes of other cows, don’t be questioning me.

  104. D. Fletcher says:

    Just a digression. Do people really believe that coffee is sinful? I find it very silly.

    The Word of Wisdom is simply a code to be obeyed, nothing more. If you obey it, you measure up, you’re one of us.

    As to its actual healthful benefits, it’s debatable and relative.

  105. Eric Russell says:

    Ron, when you said to search for “Lord’s Law of Health” were you referring to this article? You’re right, you are dangerous.

  106. Eric, good one. (golf clap)

  107. #83:

    D&C 49:18 does not endorse meat eating–quite the opposite. There’s a footnote from McConkie et al. That tries to suggest the forbid = bid, but that makes v. 15 a little problematic for Mormons.’

    I think the debate around what “sparingly” means is clearly answered by the same revelation over the next few verses. If God said, “you can skip nightly prayers sparingly, but it would please me if you prayed every night,” what’s the best course of action? Anybody here suffering from famine or excess hunger?

    Lester Bush wrote a great essay on the medical reasoning in Joseph’s time, and how the WoW was more or less a reflection of those theories. It’s in The Word of God: Essays on Mormon Scripture

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