You Make The Call: Holiday Party Edition

You’re hosting a holiday party in your home for your office co-workers. You are the only Mormon, and your co-workers know of your peculiar-peopleness. Several of them have nervously approached you to ask whether the customary holiday party alcohol will be forbidden at the party (none of them expect you to purchase alcohol or to drink it).


[poll id=”128″]


  1. Like I’d *ever* host a party.

  2. I don’t think I would have alcohol at a party I am hosting. But that’s a (tentative) personal choice. In the scenario presented though, I might make a different choice. To me there is a difference between a company party that happens to use my house as the venue this year, and a party that I am initiating and hosting myself. I think I would be perfectly fine with BYOB in the case of the former but not the later. With my penchant for silly distinctions like this, maybe I should have been a lawyer. :-)

  3. Aaron Brown says:

    I’m genuinely conflicted on this. Stina and I occasionally throw parties at home for a largely non-Mormon crowd, and we’ve adopted a policy of not serving alcohol. People know we’re Mormon, so it’s sort of expected, and thus it’s not awkward to enforce the policy. (We’ve had Christmas parties where folks have asked in advance if they could bring their own booze, since they knew we weren’t serving, and we said “no”, figuring that it shouldn’t be too much to ask to have people abstain from drinking for a couple hours, afterwhich they can get hammered for the rest of the evening).

    That said, I’m conflicted because I don’t think we have a clear-cut religious obligation NOT to serve alcohol. I don’t subscribe to the natural law-ish interpretation of the Word of Wisdom common in LDS circles, in which alcohol is a malum in se, absolutely prohibited according to some injunction written in the cosmos, or in the mind of God. I’ve taken upon myself a commitment not to imbibe, but others haven’t; I’m not aiding and abetting anyone in anything that they’ve similarly committed to avoid, so there’s really no issue. And any “be a good example” duty on my part is fulfilled by my simply not drinking.

    I really don’t want to come off as too prudish, and I sometimes fear that a no-alcohol policy in my home will cause non-Mormons to assume I think they’re evil sinners. I fear this because I know many LDS do feel this way, and some non-LDS people know this, and I don’t want to be counted among those who feel this way, since I don’t agree with them.

    Aaron B

  4. John Hamer says:

    This one can be answered by relying on the old joke.

    Q: Why must you invite two Mormons to a party?
    A: If you invite only one, he’ll drink up all your booze.

    If you’re the only Mormon there, then “tree falls in the forest, etc.,” you’re golden. (Just teasing.)

  5. If I host a party, there won’t be any alcohol at that party.

  6. AB, does BYOB count as “serving people alcohol?”

  7. I think I’m more like Cynthia L. in this one. While I voted now (ack!), I actually meant ‘it depends’.

    After all, there are situations where I wouldn’t mind a BYOB scenario that I was hosting. If I am hosting at a scenario where I can make it clear that everyone is bringing drinks and its very informal and people won’t be shocked by the alcohol, then fine.

    On the other hand, in my own home, I’m more likely to say “thank you for coming, here’s the Martenelli’s” (uh, for those that don’t know, Martenelli’s is an apple-based carbonated beverage bottled much like champagne. Very tasty, very good, and generally thought to be an acceptable non-alcoholic substitute for champagne. NOT for wine, champagne. It originally only came in one flavor, but recently they’ve been adding flavors such as mango, pomegranite, cranberry, and other things. It also happens to be pretty much all natural. They get a huge amount of variation in flavor based on the crop any given year, so like wine, you can taste the difference over time based on the quality of the crops. The company was a wine-maker that had to find a way to stay afloat during the prohibition and has kept with the non-alcoholic stuff as a matter of pride.

    I know a lot of people that really like it.

  8. mapinguari says:

    We’ve avoided the issue by hosting parties outside the home.

  9. mapinguari says:

    Incidentally, and along the lines of ben’s comments about Martinelli’s, does anyone have an opinion of non-alcoholic wines?

  10. In reality I don’t think I care enough to care, but I suppose it’d be rude to eat bacon in a Jew’s house, so perhaps we’re entitled to enforce our own peculiarities when we’re under our own roof.

  11. BYOBRonan, under kosher law the mere presence of unclean things can make the house unclean. Not so with Mormonism. But yeah, we can enforce whatever we see fit — hence the poll.

  12. Aaron Brown says:

    Steve, I should have clarified: By “serving alcohol”, I meant “allowing alcohol to be served in my home”, which would entail someone else purchasing and bringing it, and which might also entail myself (or Stina) putting it out on the table next to the Martinellis and Dr. Pepper, at most.

    I would probably never “serve alcohol” if that means “go the store, purchase the alcohol, bring it home and hand it out”. In part, this is because I’m simply not savvy enough about alcohol to know what to buy, so I’d be a bad selection for someone assigning out that task. In part, it may be something more though.

    So in a sense, maybe BYOB isn’t the same as “serving people alcohol”.


  13. AB, it’s not just different in a sense, it’s completely different. But these are quibbles. What’s really at issue is “would you permit a guest to drink alcohol in your home.”

  14. I lean toward no alcohol in my home (except for what I buy to cook with). But if you associate that with Satan . . . well, I’m in. I certainly desire to make all miserable like unto myself, so no booze or buzz for you, coworkers–you’ll have to take the financial meltdown sober (at least at my house)!

  15. I don’t know about YOUR workplace, but at mine, there would be a lot of understanding people. I might purposely host an earlyish party so that people who really needed alcohol could go to a local bar and get their fix.

    I wouldn’t want it in my home because I don’t like the smell of it or the effects of it. In fact, I vote for work parties at work just to avoid this kind of issue.

    Man, I sound like such a grinch.

    ps–is it OK if people smoke at your house? What about photocopying their butts?

  16. ESO, smoking isn’t really comparable due to the immediate harm of second-hand smoke, etc.

  17. I wouldn’t let anyone smoke in my home; nor would I let them engage in filthy language. While a social drinker may be enraged that I would compare either of those scenarious to drinking wine, I still do. Just like I wouldn’t buy a coffee pot for the visiting relative who likes his/her morning cup of joe, I wouldn’t allow people to drink alcohol in my home.
    Solution? Don’t host the party. Or hold it at a neutral location. Yes! Have it at a restaurant or something –awkwardness resolved.

    P.S. How would co-workers react to the person’s “I’m okay with alcohol in my home” in the future? Would this damage a repuation? Lead to more scenarios in the future because the person “is a cool Mormon?” I’d be more worried about future implications then offending a few people for taking a stand…

  18. And butt-photocopying isn’t comparable because of the sheer hilarity.

  19. Oh, crap. Missed the smoking comments while writing mine…

  20. I want to choose both because I like the answers.

  21. I say yes as long as there are a few ground rules: no puking, no driving home drunk, no peeing in sinks.

    also, all bottles of alcohol must be in and drunk from brown paper sacks.

  22. I remember when I was young, my parents held a christmas party, someoen but a bottle of rum. They let them bring it in. Everyone there knew we were Mormon and wouldn’t go near the stuff, there seemed to be no problem. That said I voted no, just because I don’t really want alcohol in my home.

  23. Let me ask the “take-a-stand”ers: what stand are you taking, exactly? Where is the sin that the non-stand-takerers are committing?

  24. “no puking, no driving home drunk, no peeing in sinks.”

    My house already fails two out of three tests. Why not allow the booze.

  25. I don’t serve alcohol or coffee in my home although I make after-dinner herbal tea for friends for whom a hot drink is important. I entertain frequently, have had numerous work-sponsored parties, and it really hasn’t been a problem. I always serve a variety of beverages and try to have a nice “serve yourself” drink area set up.
    One year for a Christmas dinner I hosted, one guest, a new employee at work, brought us a large bottle of champagne and I graciously accepted it and put it in the kitchen. I didn’t say anything and didn’t serve it. Later, as the party ended the person who brought it apologized and said she didn’t realize we were Mormon or she wouldn’t have brought the champagne. Apparently someone had informed her of the fact during dinner. We visited briefly and she graciously offered to take the champagne back with her which wasn’t a problem for me.
    I personally know many people who are strongly opposed to alcohol ever being served and it has no tie to religious belief. I guess I know more than my fair share of people associated with MADD.

  26. I’m afraid that my photocopier isn’t heavy-duty enough for some, and not wide enough for others. Otherwise, I have no problem so long as they close the door before hand and keep the copy out of sight.

  27. Bro. Jones says:

    Voted yes because there’s already alcohol in my home, used for cooking. If other people are bringing and drinking their own liquor, it’s not a problem for me as long as they have designated drivers.

  28. 23 — I don’t think there is any sin if you don’t partake.

    Personally, I voted “no” because I would want my children to get the message that alcohol is never permitted in our home. But I have known folk that I respect to go the other way on this.

  29. I don’t understand what you mean, Steve. Taking a stand for your beliefs means you draw the line and “take a stand.” I’m betting most of your co-workers (since you mentioned it) already know you think/act/feel differently then most of them on a variety of issues due to your religious beliefs, so why would this shock them? But if they see you “sort of” or “kind of” believe in the WoW (as far as serving it in your home), then how will they view your other religious beliefs in the future? Will they believe you?
    But if you don’t care about the “stand” issue, then it doesn’t really matter I guess –it becomes a non-issue.

    And come on, Steve! Don’t pretend you need any advice on this. It’s obvious you’ve already made up your mind on this (and your decision doesn’t make you a bad person –regardless of what I’ve said –so, why the need for validation? Perhaps we are more similar than I thought! :) ).

  30. I’ll be honest, it’s somewhat surprising that someone who knew that I didnn’t drink would even ask if they could bring alcohol.

  31. I know members serving domestic and abroad in the Foriegn Service who have to host many parties in their homes for work. They occassionally buy wine and beer for big parties but more often uncork and re-gift the bottles of wine thry receive as gifts.

  32. Cheryl, how does allowing a nonmember a drink make me “sort of” or “kind of” believe in the WoW? I don’t see how anyone could reasonably come to the conclusion that someone doesn’t believe in the Word of Wisdom based upon whether they allow another to drink.

    Btw, the sentence “Taking a stand for your beliefs means you draw the line and “take a stand.” ” is awesome, I’m having that one cross-stitched (in a circle).

  33. no peeing in sinks.

    Well excuuuuse me, Your Highness.

  34. Mephibosheth says:

    Prohibition failed. If you have a strict No-BYOB policy it can only lead to guests slipping away from the party to make moonshine in your bathtub.

  35. Ouch.
    Okay, then. We’re onto sarcasm –perhaps you really DID want advice. My bad.

  36. Echo what ESO said about ending early. I had many guests at our wedding who evidently only attend weddings for the alcohol, and were quite put out that we wouldn’t be having any at ours. However, the live band was outstanding so everyone discovered it is possible to dance and have a good time without alcohol, which was a valuable lesson for many. Also, the wedding ended fairly early and that group was able to go hit a bar afterward. I think it worked out well for everyone. (I realize this scenario is a little different in that weddings are never BYOB, but the ending early thing could work well for both.)

  37. If the party is hosted by me (especially if it is in my home), there will be no alcoholic beverages.

  38. I think someone else already said this – but it seems the obvious solution is to arrange for the party to be held in a restaurant (with bar) where those involved are free to order their own drinks.

    Of course this party would be on the company’s tab.

  39. Steve,
    Does the stand “I hate my coworkers” count as taking a stand?

    Although, in all seriousness, I’ve seen enough glasses of red wine accidentally spilled on nice rugs that I’d be nervous. Especially if I had any nice rugs.

  40. but it seems the obvious solution is to arrange for the party to be held in a restaurant (with bar) where those involved are free to order their own drinks.

    Problem being Steve is hoping for a massive game of Settlers of Cataan.

  41. Aaron Brown says:

    I once loaned my bong out to a non-LDS friend who swore he’d only use it for medicinal purposes, and I’m sure he was lying, but that’s his problem not mine, as I’ll still get the blessings owed me for having shared my material possessions with a heathen.


  42. When I was single, I would have invited people over, letting them know I had very little wine in the house only the housewarming gifts they had left before) and they ought to bring their own. Now with kids around I wouldn’t. I don’t know why there’s a difference, but it feels like there is. Mostly, I think, the difference is that we don’t have those kinds of parties in our home. I have hosted work functions like this, but at restaurants or in back alleys near dumpsters.

  43. I wouldn’t do it, esp. since I have kids. There’s a fine line between “live and let live” (which I try to teach them when it comes to gospel standards) and condoning behavior you deem immoral. I believe providing a venue for immoral behavior crosses that line. I wouldn’t allow an unmarried couple to share a bed in my home for the same reasons.

    These reasons would be just as valid if I didn’t have kids, but I think I’d be more tempted to play the liberal Mormon (regarding this particular issue) if they weren’t around. The social perks would carry more weight.

  44. See, now if I had even an ounce of Kathryn Soper’s literary skill, that’s how my comment would have sounded. But, alas, I always come off sounding like an idiot.

  45. Rameumptom says:

    Company party or not, the house owner is responsible for anyone drinking in their home. I personally have played Designated Driver several times in the past, and choose to avoid it, whenever possible. Having drunk friends toss their cookies in my back seat, or want to start a fight, is not my idea of having a good time. Nor is ensuring everyone is sober enough to drive home a fun picnic, either.

    And on #32, aren’t we supposed to “lift where we stand?” I’m so confused on that one….

  46. cheryl, don’t blame yourself. Steve just needs a drink.

  47. If we “lift where we stand,” I propose that we all lift our glasses while standing in place.

    Just be careful, if you’re the Master of the House, that nobody’s standing right behind you when everybody lifts where he stands.

  48. Steve Evans says:

    Kathy, when you say “I believe providing a venue for immoral behavior crosses that line,” you first need to show that non-mormons drinking is some kind of immoral behavior. I don’t think you can. It might be immoral for a Mormon to drink. It’s not immoral for a non-Mormon to drink.

  49. I voted for playing drinking games to Mr. Kruegers Christmas just because it sounded fun to drink to the accompaniment of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

    In actuality, we have a no alcohol policy. When my second oldest son married a non-member, we had the wedding rehearsal dinner at our home, with no alcohol served. Since our daughter-in-law had parents that were divorced, I don’t think either of them had seen each other without the benefit of alcohol in years. They were well behaved, as opposed to the wedding itself, where alcohol was served. We had to help enforce designated drivers, return alcohol soaked tuxes, and watch our daughter-in law’s divorced parents get generally ugly with each other. Seriously not fun.

  50. Eric Russell says:

    Totally depends on the drink. If they want to bring over a case of Heineken or mix a rum and coke or something, that’s cool. But if we’re talking about appletinis or anything involving umbrellas, they can take that nonsense somewhere else.

  51. I voted “no” for the same reasons that Rameumpton did, the practical factors (or rather impractical) of allowing unbridled alcohol consumption to take place in my home. My kids are smart enough to know that just because others drink in my home doesn’t mean they should. That’s not the issue for me. Having been around my share of drunken folks in the past I’d just rather not have to listen to “I love you man!” and other alcohol-fueled rants and soliloquys. I also like a non-puke-smelling carpet. Just being selfish.

  52. Steve #48,
    Maybe the morality to some extent goes with the venue. So, LDS venue = LDS morals.

  53. Amen, Steve. Since when are alcohol and morality the same?

    BTW, I think the thing that most of you are missing is that many many people require alcohol to get through a company party.

  54. Left Field and I had a party for the people in his lab several years ago. No kids. No alcohol was served. But the invites said “BYOB” and a couple of folks brought wine. There were no kids at the party and I have no objection to adults enjoying a glass of wine with their dinner. Their enjoyment was somewhat hindered by their forgetting a corkscrew, but I think I found one on an old bottle opener.

    I do recall Left and I disagreed about whether or not to do it, but as the patriarch of the home, he lost.

  55. Researcher says:

    I enjoy our company parties. I can’t imagine how alcohol would improve them. It’s a family-friendly company and the entire family is always invited and we get to see friends that we only see once or twice a year and the kids have a blast.

    But I did suffer through my husband’s lab parties during graduate school, and those might have been helped by a little inebriation. I managed to have a baby one year the day before the annual party, and was so happy to have the excuse to skip the party.

    My vote: no alcohol at our house. However, if I was to invite the neighborhood ladies over for that little brunch I’ve been considering for awhile, I would make it BYOC (bring your own coffee).

  56. Okay, Steve. What do I do about my LDS coworkers who don’t honor the WofW? Are they banned from the party?

  57. Jim (#52), care to expand?

  58. Kathy, the Word of Wisdom is personally kept or it is not. It’s not your job to police the drinking of others, whether they are LDS or muslim. Doing so goes beyond the scope and purpose of the Word of Wisdom.

  59. Mark Brown says:

    It is interesting to note that at BYU, where you cannot even get a diet Coke from a vending machine, does allow guests on campus to BYOC (coffee). No booze though, under any circumstances.

  60. So, Steve, you’re saying that policing alcohol in your own home is immoral because it takes away others’ rights to get sloshed?

  61. I think it’s foolish to allow behavior in my home that would be immoral for myself and my family to engage in, no matter what that behavior signifies for others.

    And it’s my prerogative to police everything that happens in my home.

  62. Mark Brown says:


    Isn’t there a difference between having a glass of wine with dinner and getting sloshed?

    BTW, since you have already said that there is no way you would allow guests in your home to have coffee, perhaps you could write to the board of Trustees of BYU and accuse them of not believing their religion, as you have done with Steve, since they don’t draw the same line you do.

  63. A lot seems to be hinging on labelling drinking as immoral. I submit that it is not immoral to drink.

  64. It’s immoral for LDS to drink, because it violates a code of conduct they’re implicitly bound to by covenant. And since it would be immoral for anyone in my family to drink, I believe it’s foolish to condone the drinking of others by allowing it in my home.

    Plus, I’d be jealous.

  65. My house. My rules.

  66. I have a porch. It would be understood that anyone who wants to BYOB would be drinking outside on the porch (no matter the temperature) – and I would ask that a limit be established and enforced. All alcohol would be checked at a central location, tickets would be distributed, and the number of drinks taken per person would be tallied. I’m willing to compromise to hold it AT my house but not have drinking IN my house, but the others would have to be willing to compromise on the amount consumed by each individual – on the porch.

    If those compromises wouldn’t fly, I would offer to host it somewhere else.

  67. Oh, and the wording of the choices is my favorite thus far.

  68. My house my rules.

    No drinking. Also no smoking, watching porn, or any other undesirable behavior. I would ignore if a friend brought over a cup of coffee in their hand

  69. If people bring the alcohol, then I let them drink it. However, I don’t provide it, and I explain to them why I am not drinking so that they don’t feel the need to bring it next time.

    In real life, I find that most people who know I don’t drink respect that and don’t mind the lack of alcohol. However, people who don’t know I am Mormon will often bring alcohol in order to be polite.

  70. no loud laughter at bbell’s house!

  71. Martin Willey says:

    I would have a hard time explaining to my jr.-primary-age children why alcohol was being consumed in our house. Just as soon not go there. On the other hand, I would not bring a hot dog if invited by my Jewish friends to a passover dinner.

  72. John Mansfield says:

    There was a story that Harvey Dahl, a regional representative in Nevada, told in one of our stake conferences about twenty-five years back. Brother Dahl had managed the Church’s Deseret Ranch in Florida for some years and served a couple years as president of Florida’s cattleman’s association. The president always hosted a party at the national cattleman’s convention, and he and his wife wondered what to do, and decided to supply their party with every kind of fruit juice possible. He said the novelty of it went over well—well enough that guests were happy to return for the same thing the next year.

    So if you want a nice story like this to tell years from now when you are a regional representative or Area Seventy or whatever it will be then, host the party like a Latter-day Saint.

  73. Steve #57,
    I think it has been covered by subsequent comments. If you host an event, we presume that those invited are aware of your beliefs and standards. You have the prerogative to enforce your own standards there or not. But I think in general those that know your standards would expect to live by those standards while in your home.

  74. also no evil speaking of the Lord’s annointed :)

  75. …whatever that means!

  76. My family has dinner with our neighbors every Friday night, and we all take turns hosting. When it’s our turn to host, everyone on the street knows they have to bring their own booze and that they shouldn’t drink too much. It hasn’t been hard at all to explain to our kids that Mormons don’t drink, not because it’s against some religious law, but because it’s bad for you and for many people (including many relatives) it is terribly addictive and devastating.

    But I want my kids to be exposed to moderate drinking. Studies show that children of teetotalers are more likely to become alcoholics than children of moderate drinkers. This is probably because children of teetotalers don’t learn to drink moderately.

    The Word of Wisdom is not at all like the Law of Moses. In Paul’s formulation, drinking is lawful but not expedient. Therefore, when we host a party, people bring their own wine and margerita fixings, and they are expected not to get drunk.

  77. 72 – that sounds similar to the story in Dialogue about Ezra Taft Benson’s wife hosting the DC area political wives club (or whatever it was). No card playing!

  78. My view is: Drinking is not per se immoral, and I would not permit it at a party that I host in my home.

    But I would provide spoons, a Bic lighter, and a room for people to tie off and cook and inject their own heroin.

  79. I think it’s kind of odd to BYOB to someone else’s party. I feel rather indifferent to whether or not people drink alcohol in front of me, or in front of my kids, for that matter (assuming they’re not getting wasted). We’ve taken our kids to parties where alcohol was served, and I don’t think I gave it a moment’s thought. But if someone came up to me and asked if it was okay to bring their own alcoholic beverages to my party that I was hosting in my home, where I’d be serving beverages not of the alcoholic persuasion, I would probably look at them funny and say, “Uh…I guess I’d rather you didn’t.” If they just showed up to my house with alcoholic beverages, I would probably think that was weird and not say anything. Unless they started getting wasted, of course.

  80. StillConfused says:

    Alcohol is not welcome in my home. If they want it anywhere else, fine. But my home = my rules.

  81. Steve, I am sending your kids a bottle of wine for christmas. Don’t police them.

  82. Of course, the reason I would say nothing is that I’m passive and cowardly, not because it was no big deal. My primary reaction would be, “That is weird.” And I would talk a lot about it afterward, like, “How weird was it that he just showed up with his own alcoholic beverages? Let’s not invite him next time.” Because I seriously find that weird. I must hang with a different breed of occasional-drinkers than other people.

  83. Mark-
    Gimme a break. I never accused Steve of anything except running a false thread because he seems to not want varying opinions –just validation for his own. Which, personally, I do all the time. So, who cares?

    As far as getting sloshed and one glass of wine –I have a friend (acquaintance, really) who would get sloshed drinking one glass of wine. Ooh! Perhaps you could put out invitations like this:
    Everyone can come. But you have to bring your own booze. And if you get drunk quickly, then drink just 1/3 of a glass. Oh! And have your own designated drivers and paper bags in case you puke all over my house. Merry Christmas!

  84. StillConfused says:

    To me, alcohol is not immoral, it is just gross. Like farting. Don’t do that in my house either. If you can’t go an evening without drinking/farting, go hang out somewhere else.

  85. I think many of you have not been to any parties and need to get out more. Drinking does not equal drunkenness. Most responsible adults can and do drink socially without becoming drunk (or puking), especially at an office function at someone else’s house. If your experience is different, perhaps you need a better class of coworkers.

    Cheryl if your friend gets drunk on one glass of wine, tell her to stop using the big gulp cup fron 7-11 and get a real wine glass.

  86. To me, alcohol is not immoral, it is just gross. Like farting.

    This is precisely the attitude that makes Mormons into social pariahs. Are you aware that Joseph Smith drank (and, presumably, farted)? Or do you just choose not to have any friends?

  87. Actually, #84 is closer to the truth I think. Alcohol is not immoral.

  88. Then what is?

  89. How about murder or fornication or pick any of the ten commandments. But there is nothing inherently immoral about the consumption of alcohol, or else Jesus, Joseph Smith and Wilford Woodruff would not have done so.

  90. I said no, mostly for the reasons given above. Setting a good example for the kids, public inebriation issues, designated drivers, spilled drinks, etc.

    My house, my rules, right? Except my older sister is coming for a visit soon and her current lesbian partner is coming with her. I planned to put them both in the same guest bedroom, but now that I think about it I’m wondering if I should put one guest on the couch. My kids are young (4 and 1) so they won’t really get what’s going on when Auntie and her “friend” go downstairs, but am I teaching them that this lifestyle is ok? Do I think it’s ok?

    I need to go do some soul searching. Thoughts, anyone? Would you allow a mature gay relative and their special friend to share a room in your house for a week? Sorry for the threadjack. Feel free to delete my comment, Steve, if it doesn’t jive with your original intentions.

  91. Smoking? Is that immoral? Or just stupid? I mean, 50 years ago, I bet you’d have the exact same type of conversation of whether or not to allow smoking in your house during a work party. Now science has proved smoking to be bad for everyone’s health (smoker and non-smoker alike).

    So, since drinking is completely moral, can I just say it’s stupid? Or is that crossing a line I couldn’t have crossed 50 years ago? I’m just trying to figure out the justification here.

    Sad part is, I don’t even know why I care…so, I’ll wait for your response, Steve, and then I’ll stop bugging you guys.

  92. StillConfused says:

    #86. For the sake of Mormons, you probably don’t want to attribute my comments to them. To me alcohol is gross because my relative wrecked the Exxon Valdez. And because my prior boss felt it necessary to show me his little peepee when he was drinking. Are all people like that, no. That is why I will go to a party where alcohol is served. But will I have it in my house, nah. Not at all for religious reasons though. Just because I don’t want to have to deal with any potential issues like that on my own turf.

  93. Smoking is not immoral, but yes, it is stupid.

    There’s no justification here, Cheryl. I think you have things backwards — the burden is on you to show that a given practice is immoral, not on the rest of the world to show you that it is moral.

    Jessie T., your soul-searchings are always welcome. My personal view is that if your sister is in a long-term relationship, you treat that partner with respect as you would a husband. But I realize on this people can have divergent views. If you feel that putting them in the same room would gut your ability to teach your children the law of chastity and the Church’s other revealed doctrines on families, so be it. For me, I don’t think it would.

  94. Thanks, Steve, although I wish you had said “in my legal view” instead of “my personal view”.

  95. My apologies, SC. If you know people like that, then by all means keep them away from alcohol at all costs.

    To me the larger issue is just being a good host. I agree that if it’s your house, it’s your rules. I guess my rules include making people feel comfortable in my home, including letting them bring their beverage of choice if they wish.

    I would expect them to conduct themselves appropriately and not do anything illegal or rude (which includes getting drunk or making a mess or an ass of themselves) but doesn’t that sort of go without saying?

  96. “My kids are young (4 and 1) so they won’t really get what’s going on when Auntie and her “friend” go downstairs, but am I teaching them that this lifestyle is ok? Do I think it’s ok? I need to go do some soul searching. Thoughts, anyone? Would you allow a mature gay relative and their special friend to share a room in your house for a week?”

    I have had my brother and his special friend over for a week, and I have no problem letting them share a room. I do not fear that my own kids will suddenly decide to be gay as a result. I have told my kids “X is gay, and Y is his husband (such as is allowed under the law). I am not gay, and I don’t think you are. But they are, and I love them.”

    I also wonder at the fear of puking, sink-peeing, and the like. I’ve socialized with my alcohol imbibing neighbors for 3 years now, and have yet to see any of that. I do not fear for my rug.

  97. What about buying alcohol for adults as a favor or a thank you?

    Having moved a lot (military brat)while being raised in a strict WoW house (no caffeine) I always knew when the movers were coming by the sudden appearance of several six packs of beer in the fridge. My orthodox Father swore the promise of beer helped motivate the movers to do a better job of packing and loading our stuff thus minimizing the inevitable damage associated with a military move. Once on my own I tried the same trick, but the Elder’s Quorum moving company was unfazed by the promise of beer. Next time I’ll try the High Priests Quoum.

    I don’t see any problem with buying alcohol as a way to say thank you or reward for a job well done, provided the recipients are adults and non-Mormon; although, I’m less confident about the Mormon part. So, the next round at the Christmas party is on me.

  98. rbc, the best way for me to thank my local bike shop mechanic, or to ensure prompt and inexpensive service whenever I need it, is to bring a 12 pack of beer to stock the shop fridge. The bonus for him is, he gets ALL the beer, since I take none of it.

  99. I would add that there’s nothing against the WoW when you buy cigarettes to win favors in prison.

  100. You could actually use this as a teaching moment for your kids. The lesson would go like this:

    Hey kids, people drink. There’s nothing illegal, immoral or wrong about it if they are responsible in their actions. We don’t drink because we have made a commitment not to do so as part of our religious beliefs, but we accept people of other religious beliefs into our home as friends. It may be that our friends might someday be interested in hearing about the gospel because of our friendship and example. We hope all of our friends someday learn to love the gospel as we do, but we accept and love them either way.

    End of lesson. Now brush your teeth and go to bed.

  101. rbc, your father was a wise man.

    Once on my own I tried the same trick, but the Elder’s Quorum moving company was unfazed by the promise of beer. Next time I’ll try the High Priests Quoum.

    You are less wise.

    Once I bought a bottle of gin for the IT guy at work who went above and beyond the call for me on a project I was crashing on. He did an amazing job and I was more than happy to provide him with whatever reward he chose. If he had chosen a hooker, I would have declined on legal grounds, however.

  102. StillConfused says:

    #95 I am a lawyer by profession, so the answer to your question about expecting them not to be rude or illegal, unfortunately, is not the way that particular cookie crumbles. Lawyers and drinking = not good.

  103. StillConfused says:

    On the gay thing, I don’t have any family members who are gay, but most of my siblings cohabitated before they were married. I put them up in the same room. Frankly, I didn’t think not to. But that didn’t seem to negatively impact my children.

  104. I have gone to bars with friends and associated with drinkers in other settings. I do not have a phobia about alcohol, but neither am I really in tune with drinkers as a rule. Is it really that big a deal to attend a party wtihout alcohol? I have attended parties without Diet Coke. Though truly bummed out, I did not think to run out and buy some.

  105. SC as a lawyer and ABA member, I would like to just assume that your comment about lawyers was intended as a joke. I have literally been to hundreds of parties with lawyers where alcohol was served and cannot think of more than a couple undesirable incidents, neither of which involved anything illegal.

    Is it really that big a deal to attend a party wtihout alcohol?

    I assume that depends entirely on the party. I do have non-Mormon friends who don’t really see the point of a party if there is no alcohol. This would probably go double for an office holiday party. I may not agree with them, but if I want them at my party I would try to accommodate them.

  106. I have attended parties without Diet Coke. Though truly bummed out, I did not think to run out and buy some.

    The better question is this: If you were told beforehand that the host would not allow you to bring any diet Coke, because he or she did not allow it in the house as it was considered immoral, would you still attend that whack-job’s lame-ass party?

  107. What would Joseph Smith do?

    History of the Church, vol. 6, pg. 111, “Section 1 – Be it ordained by the City Council of Nauvoo, that the Mayor [Joseph Smith] of the city is hereby authorized to sell or give spirits of any quantity as he in his wisdom shall judge to be for the health and comfort, or convenience of such travelers or other persons as shall visit his house from time to time.”

  108. I am with others in being surprised at the level of stigma alcohol seems to inspire among some of the commenters here. As a people we could probably do with less of that.

    #100 reminded me that I was out with our young men Christmas caroling to a few families we haven’t seen at church in a while. One house had a recycling box filled with empty beer cans on the porch. My deacons and teachers gave me this look like “Holy crap, should we even be here?” and several commented along the lines of being scared or uncomfortable to be there. Ridiculous…after the caroling I tried to teach the boys the nearly the exact same lesson…

  109. Just like I wouldn’t buy a coffee pot for the visiting relative who likes his/her morning cup of joe, I wouldn’t allow people to drink alcohol in my home.

    Really? Really? Maybe as a convert I have a different perspective than some here, but when I have my joe-loving non-mo parents over for a stay, of course I bust out the coffee for them. I’m a gracious host, who likes to make loved oness stays pleasant.

    People’s fears of spilled drinks, declarations of “I love you man!” and getting sloshed seemed to have been largely culled from watching movies as opposed to being around actual adult co-workers at a Christmas party.

    I find it interesting that I have often heard a Mormon convey how touched they were to have attended a party in which the host made sure to have Sprite on hand because they wanted to respect that friend’s beliefs. Even if the host didn’t personally drink Sprite! But we would not extend that courtesy to others it seems. I wonder if these people, if they had over some vegetarian friends would serve them a pork roast a side of bacon sprinkled green beans and declare, “My house.. my rules! Dig in suckas!”

  110. molly bennion says:

    #9 You mean de-alcoholized wines? Perhaps you have, but I’ve never had a good tasting one so why bother? A better alternative to offer guests is the high quality juices made by some winemakers. Navarro Vineyards in CA makes a nice Pinot Noir and an awfully sweet (it’s a dessert wine grape and sweet all by itself) but not vile gewurtztraminer.

    I also think when we have drinking guests in a setting like a work party, it is incumbent on us to serve quality non-alcoholic drinks to assure our guests we care about them. We’re not just being cheap because we don’t really care if they have a good time. Pop or seven up with ice cream won’t do it.

  111. “My house.. my rules! Dig in suckas!”

    That would make a lovely sign for the dining room, and would go so well with Steve’s cross-stitch.

  112. I would not serve alcohol because alcohol would lead coworkers would to stay way later than I would want coworkers to stay.

  113. SteveP, even your coworkers?

  114. I actually know some of Steve’s coworkers. They’re not all LDS, and I have attended parties where alcohol was served.

  115. No alcohol in my home. If I were single, or married without kids, I probably wouldn’t mind alcohol in my home.

  116. BTW, alcohol is the real date-rape drug. I think that acting like alcohol is always no big deal is naive.
    Mormons who don’t drink and don’t hang around drinkers might be in over their head if their party turns into a drinking party. I have never hosted a drinking party… I have never had to take away someone’s keys, invite them to stay over or call them a cab, etc. As the owners of the home where a party is taking place, you are legally responsible for injuries, illegal activity, etc. A host needs to be prepared for and be able to take care of situations that arise.

  117. I attend many, many parties where I know there will be no Diet Coke. I try to be gracious and polite and do not bring my own. I figure the considerate thing to do is follow the host’s lead. (In all seriousness, for me the drink is not the party. Others may disagree).

  118. Steve Evans says:

    JKS, a smart host knows how to make sure their party never turns into a drinking party.

  119. The term “drinking party” is pretty funny. I’ve only heard non-drinkers use it. Those who imbibe never say, “Yeah, I’m going to a drinking party this Saturday night.”

  120. I don’t mind if guests BYOB. Considering my husband isn’t a member of the church and (very, very) rarely has a beer or a glass of wine if a friend comes over for dinner, it would seem hypocritical and weird not to allow alcohol in my home. The non members we invite over never made a covenant not to imbibe. I did, therefore, I shan’t drink.

    Maybe it’s because I’m a little older than some of you (?), but my colleagues aren’t frat boys or 21 year old partiers. No one barfs or gets all drunk any more. That’s so 1980’s.

    Drinking, in and of itself, is so totally not immoral. I know plenty of moral people who can drink a glass of wine.

    BYOB rarely entails bringing gin, vodka, whiskey etc. BYOB usually means people will bring a bottle of wine or some beer. I don’t have a problem with that. I wouldn’t allow a full service bar to be set up in my house though. That would be over the top for me personally!

    Finally, Molly B, #110, my husband and I had a lovely glass of the Navarro Pinot Noir grape juice the other night at a restaurant. We used to order it by the CASE from Navarro vineyards! (And I like the gewurtztraminer). :-)

    That is all. Like you cared.

  121. While I agree that alcohol consumption is not in itself sinful and we ought to lower our sense of stigma when faced with alcohol consumers, I am also amazed at the idea that people would be offended if I were not to serve alcohol at a party. We entertain a lot, almost weekly, and the fact that there is never alcohol has never been an issue, and people keep coming when we invite them. And of course none of our guests would be so rude to bring alcohol or ask to do so knowing we do not consume it. We can have our own standards based on our own social instincts without being accused of being reactionary bigots, can’t we?

  122. Yes, Norbert. We can. I hope I wasn’t implying that anyone who didn’t allow alcohol in their home was a reactionary bigot.

  123. No, meems. I was just surprised at some of the strong reactions to people’s positions on this.

  124. #76 you said “Studies show that children of teetotalers are more likely to become alcoholics than children of moderate drinkers. This is probably because children of teetotalers don’t learn to drink moderately.”

    Not sure I agree with that interpretation. There is some evidence that the alcoholic tendency is genetic. The studies you cite excluded children of practicing alcoholics, and the teetotalers included sober alcoholics whose children were genetically predisposed to alcoholism. Moderate drinkers don’t have the alcoholic tendency and neither do their children.

  125. We can have our own standards based on our own social instincts without being accused of being reactionary bigots, can’t we?

    Yes, and we can allow people to bring their own beverages to our home without condoning immorality or or supporting public intoxication.

  126. Maybe I am just a natural party-pooper, but every time I read on of these alcohol posts I just sigh.

    Now, I don’t know that I have spent more or less time around alcohol, or gone out to the bar with my colleagues and been a living witness to my unjudgementalism/openness more or fewer times, than whoever. But I have done it enough to know that socializing with people who are tipply/buzzed/drunk/slammed or running on about vintage and fruity overtones is lamer than spending time with the same exact people when they are sober.

    The non-abusive, habitual consumption of alcohol is annoying. We frequently fly the long-haul, Air France red-eye with our under two infant and we always get seated in the bulkhead, right next to the self-service drink station. Like zombies, at a certain hour people gravitate to the drink cart, they crowd in and look at the wall and have the most banal discussions while sipping from their little plastic cups, for hours on end, they don’t even realize why they are crammed into the emergency exit alcove like it was a Tokyo subway, it has become their natural environment. The saddest part about it is they are coming from or going to some of the most exotic places in the world and all they can talk about is “the beer in Abijdan tastes exactly like the beer in Caracas” or how they “didn’t make it out of the hotel while they were there, but the bar made their drinks with mostly alcohol and just a splash of mixer.”

    What self-respecting Mormon allows alcohol to be served in their home, kids or not? What self-respecting host cannot successfully and graciously arrange a non-alcoholic party? What does anyone gain from the alcohol being there?

  127. My in-laws are Catholic and I keep a bottle of their favorite white wine in my fridge so they can enjoy a glass if they come over to my house.

    I’m still trying to understand why white wine is chilled and red wine is not. Perhaps some future revelation will clear this up for me.

  128. MCQ (#100), I’ve had similar chats with my kids. But I don’t believe that welcoming someone into my home as a friend requires me to welcome their alcoholic beverages. I can respect the fact that you and others disagree. Hopefully you can return the favor.

  129. If I host a party in my home, the party lives by my home rules (no drinking alcohol). If I host a party elsewhere – at the community center, at a hotel meeting room, at a restaurant banquet facility – then BYOB is acceptable.

  130. Why would I encourage anyone to drink ever, given the tremendous damage I’ve seen alcohol create in my family and the families of my friends? I wouldn’t want alcohol at my parties, and I wouldn’t want it in my house. I consider it an enemy of peace and happiness. I think drinking is a wrongheaded mistaken stupid destructive thing for anyone to do, even in moderation, and I wouldn’t want to suggest to others by anything I did that it isn’t. How many people who drink in moderation have never once had more to drink than they planned? I think that percentage is near zero. There isn’t really any bright line between drinking responsibly and not, the way things play out in real life. It’s all on a continuum. I don’t think anyone who drinks at all is ever completely safe from possible tragic consequences. I could tell you so many heartbreaking stories just from my family and friends.

    And what is the payoff? I’ve never seen the return for which we freely trade so many lives, so much sorrow, so many families destroyed. Some initial shyness at parties may be smoothed away, but in exchange for shameful incidents later on at those same parties, for instance, when inebriated guests behave boorishly. I’ll take the shyness, thanks. People supposedly enjoy the taste of alcohol, but only after their initial distaste is overcome by their body’s reaction to the drug effect it has. A nice festive party atmosphere, at the cost of a little vomiting and blinding head pain. Drunken guests say “greatest party ever”, then destroy your house and treat it as a nightclub. There’s no upside to alcohol!

    Studies of how addiction works biochemically tell us that each drink causes a slight rewiring of the brain toward receiving pleasure from alcohol and away from receiving pleasure from other ordinary activities of life. The more one drinks, the stronger those pathways are built, as influenced by genetics. In hardened alcoholics those brain pathways are reinforced to the point that almost no pleasure at all can be derived from love, honor, family, friendship, or accomplishments of any sort, only from the drug. So it’s small wonder that craven addicts will freely sacrifice all of the former for a bottle or two of the latter.

    So my answer is definitely no alcohol allowed at my house. I despise alcohol. Before it can consider itself my friend and come to my parties, alcohol has to answer to me for all the destruction and pain and death and senseless squalid suffering it’s inflicted upon my, and the human, family. Pah!

  131. Don’t hold back Tatiana!

    If alcohol is such an enemy of peace and happiness maybe Jesus should go and undo that Cana wedding gift before someone notices.

  132. Wow, the vote is actually 50-50. I think there must needs be a compromise. O’Douls!

  133. Tatiana: Curse Utah for repealing the 21st Amendment!

  134. Cana FTW. Good night. Go home. Close the thread.

  135. I hosted the company holiday after-party (for all my co-workers except for bosses). It was BYOB. We played video games, including Rock Band, Mario Cart and Nazi Zombies(part of Call of Duty 5). Everybody drank responsibly, and fun was had by all (both drinkers and non-drinkers alike).

    I don’t have kids, but I think I would still host the party the same way if I did. I would like my kids to learn that its okay and cool to not drink while still allowing others their own free agency to do so. Also I would like them to have good role models of people who do drink. Most of my LDS friends growing up who aren’t really into church now, are total sloshes. I don’t think they ever had good examples of people drinking responsibly growing up.

  136. This thread really bums me out.

    I’m with Tatiana. I’m thinking Steve and MCQ don’t have a niece who’s living in a tent down by the river because she’s an alcholic.

  137. And by drinking responsibibly that means nobody was “drunk” and my house was spotless when guests left, (aka no throw up or people trashing the place!).

  138. Susan, I have a niece, and while she’s not in a tent yet I refuse to fence her in like some of you would like. FREE TO CHOOSE!!

  139. On my mission some English class students uncorked a bottle of champagne during our 4th of July American-ish cookout party at the church. It’s not every day you walk by the kitchen at church and hear that “pop” sound followed by liquid splattering on the floor.

  140. Count me with Tatiana and Susan too (and several others that voiced strong opposition to allowing alcohol at a party that you host). I just don’t see what value is added with the alcohol- the obvious and more likely negatives far outweigh any possible positives, in my opinion…It seems a little flimsy to justify with “but Jesus did it” when modern revelation condemns alcohol.

  141. NoCoolName_Tom says:

    I think people are free to dislike alcohol as an evil of society – that’s part of our society. However, as has been pointed out elsewhere, the details of our adherence to the Word of Wisdom have not been eternal, and, according to a literal reading of some scriptures it will not be eternal. It’s fine to view alcohol as evil, but that is an individual view, not a Mormon view.

  142. Jim, let me suggest to you that the phrase “but Jesus did it” is about as unflimsy as they come.

  143. Susan M, I hear you. I’m so sorry about your niece. I could write a dozen Dostoyevsky novels and not describe adequately the bitter cost my family has paid through the years. So many lives destroyed and cut short. It’s heartbreaking.

    In case Steve, gst, and Ronan were really attempting to engage me substantively on this thread, I’ll answer that I’m not in favor of prohibition, mainly because it doesn’t work.

    And during Christ’s time in his society, people drank weak alcoholic drinks because the water wasn’t safe to drink otherwise. Alcohol killed the harmful bacteria. The concentration of alcohol was a lot lower than we have in our beer and wine today, and it was necessary for health. In China and India they drank tea, and in Arabia coffee, because boiling the water accomplished the same thing. Cana was a totally different situation, in other words, and not applicable to our time.

  144. Tatiana, your last paragraph is an absolute myth. The concentration of alcohol was NOT lower, nor was it necessary for health.

  145. Steve- true, but there are many things that Jesus did that we don’t do and don’t even try. Do we raise the dead, walk on water, or try to turn water to wine? So justifying hosting a party with alcohol because of what Jesus did just doesn’t seem to fly. If President Monson hosted a party of religious or world leaders, would alcohol be involved?

  146. I got that from Scientific American magazine, which is usually quite well researched. It’s not a myth.

    Would you be okay with people bringing marijuana to smoke at your party, or doing a few lines of coke, smoking crack, or shooting up H? I would guess not. Is that only because of the difference of legality? Alcohol has caused more destruction in families than those drugs (because it’s so widely used). What is the real difference between them? If you moved to Amsterdam where many drugs are legal, would you be okay with people bringing those to your party?

  147. NoCoolName_Tom says:

    When one considers the story behind the eating of crab and shrimp they ignore the horrible realities of overfishing and the countless deaths of young people just trying to make a quick buck that occur in the troubled seas of the northern Pacific. Before you allow a crab dish at your next party, ask yourself, “Are the deaths that occurred to produce this crab worth the benefits it might bring? What if the product was expired and someone gets sick? Is this the example I want to set for my children?” And, while I hope it’s obvious that I’m joking, my point would be that such questions actually are valid and reasonable to ask, but saying “I don’t want crab at my party because of a scripture that may not even apply to my party guests” is not valid and reasonable. This is an issue of prohibition, society, and individual morals, NOT doctrine.

  148. Jim, are you saying that drinking is miraculous? Or that miracles are sinful today? Your comparisons are odd, and I don’t think they work. In order for it to work you’d have to find a more commonplace behavior that Jesus engaged in that we now condemn. I am not sure you can. Circumcision, perhaps.

    Next time I host a party of religious or world leaders I will seek President Monson’s advice. I hear his parties are LEGENDARY.

  149. Tatiana, the legality of behavior is certainly a minimum bar for appropriate party activity! But bare legality is not the measure of whether we engage in behavior. In the case of social gatherings, a whole host of etiquette and norms apply, which you seem to ignore for the sake of your counterexample.

    Look, I appreciate your teetotalling ways, it’s kind of admirable, and for those whose lives have been harmed by the influence of alcohol I respect the decision to keep it out of the equation entirely. But it is not required by the scriptures or by modern revelation. Also I call your SciAm article bunk until I see it.

  150. This is an issue of prohibition, society, and individual morals

    It is NOT an issue of prohibition, at least, anymore than not allowing party guests to watch porn on my TV is a matter of censorship.

    At least while you’re condemning Tatiana and Susan — and me, although I haven’t spoken up until now — with egregious overboarding, don’t go overboard yourself.

  151. The tragedy of issues like this is that people have to learn over and over by seeing the actual damage inflicted. They never seem to believe any other way. So each generation repeats the mistakes of their forebears.

    One thing that delighted me about the LDS church when I found it is it seemed that people in the church could actually learn from the wisdom of their prophets, without having to see and suffer the irreversible toll that firsthand learning would extract. How wise and humble that model is. How great! How elevating is it for all of us to actually have a community where we’re tackling harder issues, we’re focused on the next level up. We’re not wasting our money, time, talents, lives in life choices that have been proven to be destructive and soul-killing like drugs and alcohol and extra-marital sex.

  152. To get pedantic:

    I think that what Steve’s flippant poll leads us away from is the inherent complexity of this issue. The decision to not allow/allow the drinking of alcohol (or coffee, for that matter) in one’s home and what that signals to other Mormons, to children, to co-workers, to spouses, to relatives is a rather variable thing (within, of course, a certain acceptable range — which commenters have already somewhat explored).

    It’s tempting to draw bright lines. And some of those lines may need to be drawn. I can completely understand why anyone would not want alcohol in their home. On the other hand, one of my childhood friends who was denied sugar in his household by his WoW-strict constructionist mom, became a total sugar junkie.

    And sugar can be mind/mood altering too. Not to the extent of alcohol, of course.

    What I would hope that we could agree on, though, is that because all sorts of mind/mood/energy altering substances exist (from caffeine to alcohol to SSRIs to whatever) and inasmuch as these substance range in their addictiveness, their usage in society, their positive and negative effects and inasmuch as ones position vis a vis such substances involves a complex matrix that includes genetic heritage and body chemistry, personal and familial history, revelation, cultural practices and customs, etc. etc., the absolute most important thing is that both adults and children are honest with themselves and informed about addiction and any substance to which one can become addicted and how that affects how one lives ones values and raises ones children and operates in secular/polite society.

    Based on my experience, I would suggest that a mixture of hard rules, frank education, honest self-assessment and phlegmatic innoculation* (at least in the case of coffee, tea and alcohol and possibly even marijuana — obviously heroin and meth and crack cocaine require the harder approach) probably works best. If one is too casual, it can sneak up on you (or your children); if one is too fear-mongering, then it takes on allure and a power that it doesn’t inherently possess.

    * By this I mean some sort of acquaintance with the idea that people can consume such substances and not be evil or incompetent or in the thrall of Satan or whatever.

  153. Ardis, it’s got nothing to do with condemning anybody, I don’t think — if it gets that far let me know and I’ll shut this thing down or ban people or whatever. I agree that this is not about prohibition, though.

  154. FLIPPANT!!

  155. NoCoolName_Tom says:

    Wow, that was a really poor choice of words. I meant to imply that Prohibition supporters made logical arguments in the debates over the two amendments. I’m not implying that those who would refuse alcohol in their homes are somehow crazy; I used to feel the same way. :-( Sorry. You’ve got to type fast to keep up with this blog.

    Also, Tatiana, I’ve looked to try and find the sources of that myth. I have found it twice – once in a Medieval nuns medical opinions (she also said that beer should be served cold to prevent illness) and once in another place I’d have to look in my notes for. Compare that to the countless(!) accounts of beer and wine over the past two millenia: all praise alcohol as a divine gift that eases life.

    Wines were often cut with water to both make the wine last longer and keep people from getting drunk quicker (not to keep them from enjoying the wine, though). People were smart back then, just as smart as they are today: they knew water from certain areas made you sick (like cities) and water from certain areas was clean (like springs). Steve is wrong, but you are wrong, too, because what you state is a half-truth, a half-myth: alcohol was weaker back then (because it took distillery invented by Louis Pasteur to make what today is called Strong or Large Beers) but that was often by conscious design. Alcohol was praised for its health benefits (possibly due to its ability to kill some microrganisms). However, ever since the dawn of civilization, people have enjoyed alcohol for being alcoholic.

  156. NoCoolName_Tom says:

    I never meant to cause a problem. I just meant to say that while there are many valid arguments to be made for keeping alcohol out of one’s home, I don’t think that the Word of Wisdom should be among those when dealing with individuals who are not Mormon.

    I guess I should have just said that. Hmm…

  157. Flippant.

  158. “In the case of social gatherings, a whole host of etiquette and norms apply, which you seem to ignore for the sake of your counterexample.”

    Steve, I’m telling you things I’ve seen. I’m not talking in hypotheticals. Alcohol loosens the hold of etiquette and norms over the minds of drinkers, of course, as it undermines their judgment in general, starting with the question of whether or not it’s a good idea to have another drink right now. In electrical engineering we learn about positive and negative feedback control systems. Positive feedback keeps systems in stable control, and negative feedback tends to send them oscillating out of bounds. Alcohol sets up a negative feedback control system in a person’s brain, when each drink gives them that much less ability to decide whether taking the next drink is advisable.

    As for agency, alcohol tends to kill the agency of the drinker, as his or her normal self becomes co-opted by the angry drunk, or maudlin drunk, or violent drunk, or just the incapacitated drunk. Anyone who respects agency dislikes what alcohol can do to a person’s agency. As others pointed out, alcohol is the original time-honored date rape drug.

  159. I should also add in regards to the actual call required:

    I find it fascinating how Mormons clumsily and/or smoothly negotiate the meritocratic society as we became/become assimilated Americans. My grandfather has some fascinating stories about how he did so during the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s in the San Francisco Bay Area. And as I recall (I really wish now I had recorded more of his stories), his solutions probably would make some conservative Mormons uncomfortable and some liberal Mormons (again — hate those adjectives but I’m not sure what else to use) uncomfortable (or at least think that he cause some needless discomfort at times).

  160. Tatiana, you are making some good arguments against the abuse of alcohol.

  161. RE Tatiana’s weaker wine argument, of course watered wine is weaker than non-watered wine. That’s true today and has been true in the past as well. But it’s irrelevant for Tatiana’s claim. Her argument may be accurate to the extent that she’s simply stating that people didn’t drink distilled alcohol during Jesus’s day. Fair enough. But wine isn’t often distilled, in any case. If we compare today’s wine with the wine of the past, we’re on pretty decent ground. Of course, there have been big debates in wine-lovers’ circles in the recent past regarding alcohol levels, with some claims that the 15%+ levels found in some contemporary California wines are simply too much and throw off the drinking experience. This is in contrast with a more normal 12-13%, and may be due to climate change.

    With wine, the alcohol level really has a lot to do with the amount of sugar in the grapes. If wine in Jesus’s day had very little alcohol, like maybe 2% or something, then one assumes the grapes were very bitter indeed.

  162. If they want to bring over a case of Heineken…

    Well, you are clearly not a beer drinker or you would never allow something so terrible in your home.

    Also, I nominate the following for comment of the year:

    I once loaned my bong out to a non-LDS friend who swore he’d only use it for medicinal purposes, and I’m sure he was lying, but that’s his problem not mine, as I’ll still get the blessings owed me for having shared my material possessions with a heathen.


    Comment by Aaron Brown

  163. I tried to locate the article, but I’ve been reading SciAm since the early 70s, so it could have been any time since then, and it didn’t turn up on a site search. I do remember the article was focused on the fact that virtually everyone in Europe in historical times was going around with a low-level buzz pretty much all day long, and what an interesting thing is it to realize that as we read the literature, science, etc. of the time. It was talking about Europe, but I generalized it to Christ’s milieu. It would have been equally true everywhere there was any density of human habitation, of course, that some means of rendering water safe to drink would have been important. In places where people drank wine and beer, that was the means. Of course, if you don’t like that argument, another way we can know that Christ’s situation vis a vis alcohol doesn’t apply to us today is modern revelation.

    It is a hard question to decide where to draw the line, and I’m not trying to dictate what anyone else should do. For instance, when I go to the store for my mom, I get her what she asks for, including coffee, tea, wine, and tobacco. I do believe in agency. But when my grown son wants to drink, I say not in my house. It’s a question of what sort of influence I want to be for others. And things like that do have a huge effect on what people choose. Just look at how many people in the U.S. were able to quit smoking once smoking was banned in the workplace, for instance.

    In posting these things, I’m not trying to dictate what anyone else should do. I’m just urging with all the energy of my soul for people to reconsider if they have an attitude that alcohol isn’t really all that harmful.

  164. Do we raise the dead, walk on water?

    No. But if I could, I would.

  165. there have been big debates in wine-lovers’ circles in the recent past regarding alcohol levels, with some claims that the 15%+ levels found in some contemporary California wines are simply too much and throw off the drinking experience. This is in contrast with a more normal 12-13%, and may be due to climate change.

    No question, it’s all due to climate change. The reason people are forced to host work parties at home? Also climate change. Why is Steve off his nut? Climate change.

  166. Tatiana, fair enough. I think your perspective is a pretty good one and I can’t fault you for it. I am glad to hear your thoughts on this because I know you care about it.

    gst (#164) preferably at the same time.

  167. Is it silly to base my ideas about natural history on Genesis, but not at all silly to base my attitude toward alcohol on The Gospels? Why would there be a difference?

  168. Tatiana, I’m also waiting for a reference for your SciAm article. I can’t find anything like that on the website. Anything less than 10% alcohol would have very little effect on microbes. And saying that Jesus only drank wine to prevent water-borne illness is a little dubious. In any case, the point still remains that alcohol is not inherently evil. In excess, it leads to countless problems as you say. We have been asked to refrain from drinking it – but probably more because it separates us as a people from the rest of society. Same with coffee and tea.

  169. gst #165, huh?

  170. J. N-S: Because you are a political leftist, I’m making fun of your readiness to blame things on climate change. (I grant that viticulture, even compared to other types of agriculture, is extraordinarily sensitive to climate. But I don’t let your well-grounded hypothesis get in the way of my cheap shot. It’s not my way.)

  171. I don’t read the filthy rag called Scientific American, nor do I allow others to bring it into my home. However, I am aware of a relevant article:

    B. Vallee, “Alcohol in the Western World.” Scientific American 278 (1998).

  172. David, I can’t find the article online either. I quit keeping my paper copies some time in the 80s when I ran out of shelf space, but I still miss them often. The point that matters is that in historical times before modern waste water treatment was widely available, anywhere with any concentration of human population at all would need a means of making water safe to drink. In Europe this was fermentation, in China and India, boiling water for tea, and in Arabia for coffee. It ought to be something we can prove just by studying patterns of waterborne illness in the current day. I’ll poke around on google and see if I can come up with anything.

    If you grant that, though, then it’s pretty obvious which of those three methods was chiefly used in the New Testament milieu.

  173. lol, Justin, you’re my hero! Now can you come up with the text?

  174. Vallee’s prose is strangely intoxicating.

  175. I’ve always thought that the WOW move from “not by way of commandment” to its current status involving categorical do-nots was basically made to set Mormons apart from the world. (A little alcohol doesn’t hurt the body any more than a little saturated fat does.) Allowing alcohol consumption in an LDS home would seem to go against this purpose.

  176. Thomas Parkin says:

    If everyone is too plastered to play Pictionary, Pit or Apples to Apples … what kind of party is that, anyway?? ~

  177. Or it would dramatically highlight the setting apart.

  178. Do we raise the dead, walk on water?

    No. But if I could, I would.

    And what a party that would be!

  179. Zombie waterskiing!

  180. Zombie waterwineskiing!

  181. GST,

    I also saw the “Shoutout” to global warming. So if the earth continues its current actual recent cooling trend will the wine go back to 12%?

  182. bbell, okay, fine. Now go back and look at my actual comment. The climate change in question is an evident localized increase in temperatures during the grape-growing season in California.

  183. My only question now JNS is how does a WOW keeping member of NS1 know so much about how temp controls alchohol content. I am emailing your SP now…

  184. NoCoolName_Tom says:

    As for the ancient alcohol article, I’m willing to accept defeat when I’m wrong, but due to my own research into this, I’m going to keep fighting. I have, as I said before, almost never found any contemporary sources indicating the health benefits of alcoholic beverages against water. It’s entirely possible that such an idea was so fundamental that it never was written about, but I don’t think that’s likely. That is why I stick to my thesis of “The main reason alcohol was consumed in ancient times was the same reason it is still used today”: I’ve never found any evidence from those people to indicate health as a reason for drinking more alcohol than water (although that may have been the case – but that’s using our point of view, not theirs). The battle was not between whether or not to drink alcohol, but was rather which kind of alcohol (beer vs. wine) was preferable to drink. I think this is an important point because the usual argument runs “Since they were without healthy alternative it was okay, but we have healthy alternatives”. There were always alternatives: you can avoid areas of high population density, not drink obviously bad water, use natural springs, or boiling. People knew these things and didn’t seem to care much about them. To imply that ancient people somehow would have had more excuse than we do for not adhering to our modern application of the Word of Wisdom is not fair.

    Unrelated, how do you all keep from sticking your feet in your mouth while posting so often? I’d love the secret.

  185. All my comments are randomly generated by a computer program that splices together phrases from Bruce R. McConkie, Brigham Young, Richard Sennett, Orson F. Whitney, Harold Bloom, Deborah Tannen and Pierre Bourdieu.

  186. 143:

    In case Steve, gst, and Ronan were really attempting to engage me substantively on this thread

    You’ve got some chutzpa coming here and asserting those kinds of claims.

    Back on topic: this is real life issue for me, being married to an imbibing gentile and all. Here is our carefully crafted compromise: When no one is over, no booze. When we have the missionaries over, no booze. When we host other gatherings, out comes the grape of the vine. I’m a fairly reclusive, anti-social type who spends most of his free time jousting on the interwebs, so the plan is practically failsafe.

  187. bbell, good plan, although I’m sorry to report that I’ve never played World of Warcraft. But next time you’re around, do stop by for a spaghetti dinner with us; I make a mean tomato sauce, best when enlivened with a nice dry red…

  188. Ha! If JNS drinks wine with his spaghetti, this debate is officially over.

  189. Prohibition has been repealed. BYOB party at Susan M’s house!

  190. MCQ, I actually put wine in the spaghetti. But that’s just details, I suppose; it ends up in the digestive tract anyway.

  191. I’m so late to this party, I don’t even know if it’s worth joining, but here’s my 2 cents. All coming from a drinking (occasional) Catholic (an univited guest no less!). Hehe. That meant to say an occasionally-drinking Catholic, not a drinking, occasional Catholic. Anyhow, moving on…

    In your shoes, say if I were LDS and had kids and throwing an office shindig at my place, I would be torn. One, I’d want people to WANT to come, and let’s face it, us drinking folks really don’t enjoy a holiday party (as much) if we can’t have a glass of wine. There is a misconception here that if you’re having one drink, you’re having 20. Not always true. Sure, it happens, but I’d like to think that most would be much more respectful at the LDS house. In fact, this now leads me to two (my english prof said if there’s a one, there must always be at least a two). Two, if I were going to an LDS house for a holiday party (though I do enjoy my glass of wine), I would not drink there. EVEN IF I was told I could. It just wouldn’t feel right to me. In fact, it would feel disrespectful, and if I did imbibe, I would probably feel a bit “judged” which may lead to me feeling inadequate and drinking more than I intended despite all that respect I have at the LDS house.

    When my LDS friend is over (yes, I only have one) in the morning time, I don’t make my coffee. When we go out to dinner, I don’t order wine. Truth be told, I don’t even order caffeinated beverages. I don’t want to do anything that would make her feel uncomfortable.

    And now, for my point three, b/c there are kids in the house though (back to the original question), my answer is NO. Assuming I’m LDS, I have my beliefs. I am raising my children with those beliefs, and instilling in them “right” and “wrong.” As a parent, I like to avoid sending mixed messages whenever possible. We don’t approve premarital sex here, so when my mom and her boyfriend come to visit (been together for years), they either sleep separately or get a hotel. I’m all for explaining why to the kids. I just don’t approve the behavior in my house. Which is why, with your hypothetical up there, I would say No to allowing alcohol. Unless of course, my kids weren’t going to be there, then I would probably allow someone to bring some wine or beer or something and judge them (maybe even make fun of them depending on how much they drink) for their inability to relax and have fun without having alcohol as a crutch.


  192. So, if anyone is still interested in this discussion, let’s up the ante: for those that voted to host the party and allow it to be BYOB, would you change your mind if: the president of the company is your stake president.

    OR, the party in question is for your recently-turned-nineteen year old son (or 21-year old daughter) with his/her college friends, some of which are not LDS; said child is preparing for a mission.

    Would you change your vote in these scenarios? Why or why not?

  193. Nope. If the Stake President is friend enough to be invited over, I’d stick to whatever guns I was brandishing at the moment.

  194. Stake President? President Monson actually lives in my nieghborhood. Let’s invite him too.

  195. NoCoolName_Tom says:

    I would not change my vote for either one: if it came up at the next recommend interview I’d be able to honestly state that I follow the Word of Wisdom. I found that many missionaries did horrible things they’d never do at home while self-supervised on the mission; I’d feel better about my child if they stood for their covenants in this party situation before they left. Not that I support creating such a situation as a test.

  196. Wait a minute, if the SP is also the CEO, wouldn’t he be the one deciding if alcohol is served at the party? If he says it’s BYOB and asks you to host, who’s going to turn him down? Your next calling would be Stake Restroom Maintenance Leader.

  197. OR, the party in question is for your recently-turned-nineteen year old son (or 21-year old daughter) with his/her college friends, some of which are not LDS; said child is preparing for a mission.

    That party’s BYOB whether you host it or not. Hosting it just means you get to supervise.

  198. Late to this discussion, it seems, but this is a scenario I just confronted last weekend. I was volunteered to throw our office party at my home this year. I told people from the beginning “if you want to drink wine, bring your own, b/c you wouldn’t want me to pick it out for you.” I work with 1 or 2 other LDS people, who came to the party. But most are non-LDS. I also knew that no one in my office is a heavy drinker, at least not at the office parties, so no one would be getting out of control. And I checked to be certain that everyone who would be drinking was 21. I don’t think I would have wanted people to bring hard liquor, but I also knew that no one would, based on what I’d seen at past office parties.

    I didn’t feel conflicted at all about this, as far as my religion is concerned. My feeling has always been that the WOW is my choice, my belief, let others live as they choose.

    Didn’t read all comments, but saw the one about upping the anti – what if my Stake President had been there? Wouldn’t have made a difference to me. I still would have made the same choice.

    The only thing I can think of that would give me pause about this next time around would be if I have kids…I still think I’d allow people to bring their own bottle, as long as I was familiar with them and their “drinking at work parties” behavior.

    Interesting to note also, though not quite the same thing, the church’s recent statement (few months ago) about how we shouldn’t impose our beliefs about drinking on the non-LDS public of Utah…

  199. Ugly Mahana says:

    Voted yes before I realized the hypothetical party was at my home. Many things are appropriate away from home, but not in the home. These are idiosyncratic. No alcoholic drinks in my home is one of my idiosyncratic rules.

  200. Steve, my opinion on this subject may be relevant because before my conversion I used to drink. A lot. I used to go to a lot of parties where people were sloshed. I used to go to a lot of parties where people would have a friendly glass of wine and then drive safely home. A few points:

    1)In general, people are more likely to get sloshed at a holiday party than a July 4 barbeque. Something about the holiday season. So, if you’re inviting people over to your house for a holiday party, depending on your friends, there is a greater likelihood that some of them will be expecting to get sloshed. It’s more socially acceptable.

    2)I think drinking is immoral for me. I made a lot of promises not to, and I have kept my promises. I don’t think drinking is immoral for everybody, but there are clearly a lot of social problems associated with alcohol. There are clearly a lot of people who do immoral things after having a few drinks. Frankly, I don’t want to be a participant in that in any way.

    3)Given the large number of lawyers on this board and others, I’m surprised more people are not discussing the whole liability issue. I was really concerned about this when I used to drink. We had people at our house during parties who would get sloshed and because everybody was sloshed nobody would stop the sloshed people from driving. Luckily nothing bad happened when people left parties I hosted, but they easily could have. Is it beyond the pale to think somebody could have sued me and won for not stopping people from drinking and driving after a rowdy party at my house? Frankly, I’d rather not take the chance. So, even if I held a Mormon party and allowed people to Bring Their Own, what if they brought their own fifth of Scotch and downed it and then ran over a kid in my neighborhood?

    4)In general, people who drink are OK with people setting their own rules in their own houses. Yes, there are some cranks out there who might refuse to go, but for the most part people are most likely to say, “oh, Steve Evans is a Mormon, so there won’t be any alcohol at his party, but we can go to a bar after. No biggee.”

  201. I loved Aileen’s two cents. For lifelong Mormons like me, it’s almost always a lot of help to read an explanation like that from someone of another faith, to realize that some of the traits we think are peculiar to Mormonism are not solely Mormon, but are shared by people of other faiths, or simply of good sense or good taste. Setting aside what we think are peculiarities of Mormonism in such cases, in the interest of appearing mainstream, sometimes means that we’re just being stupid and tasteless.

    Of course this applies only to those traits of the mainstream world that I consider wise and tasteful…

  202. Geoff, regarding your third point: To my knowledge, dram shop acts do not apply to homeowners. I’m not aware of other liability theories that have been successfully used against homeowners in these circumstances. I suspect that there is no duty to make sure people don’t leave your house drunk.

  203. Regarding Aileen’s comment, I enjoy being folks’ only Mormon friend. Sometimes I meet their only black friends and only gay friends at Token Friend events.

  204. gst – ouch. I’m not sure what else to say. I would love to have more LDS friends. They tend not to be at the places I am (starbucks, bars, and my church), which makes them difficult to meet. When I’ve attended the local LDS church, I enjoy meeting LDS folks and would love to have them as friends. I think I scare them though, you know, being of the Catholic, drinking, coffee-swilling persuasion.

  205. Aileen, don’t sweat it. Take it from someone with a lot of Mormon friends: One is plenty.

  206. I suspect that there is no duty to make sure people don’t leave your house drunk.

    If it’s an office party, the company could have a duty, but I suspect it would only be a “reasonableness” standard, which does not require breathalyzer-level analysis. My rule would be that anyone who had more than two drinks is getting a ride from a designated driver or a cab. End of liability issue.

  207. Aileen, once people meet gst, they have no need or desire for any other Mormon friends.

  208. That’s right, McQ. I embody all that is good in Mormon friendship, and having known that perfection, there is no satisfaction to be had in its counterfeit.

  209. Evans informs me via back channels that it’s MCQ, not McQ. I thought it was short for something, like McQueue, perhaps. Apologies.

  210. Holy cow, nearly 300 votes and it’s running 50/50!

  211. Bless those back channels…

  212. I have another twist–my boss happens to be LDS and served alcohol at her holiday party this year, which she hosted in her house. I asked the server for O’doul’s…no such luck. Where’s the LDS on LDS love for us near-beer drinkers?

    210–no kidding. I was surprised to check back tonight and see this one still going.

  213. Steve Evans,

    just wondering, would you advocate the ward Christmas party held at the chapel to have a boyb policy, with alcohol being just fine so as not to offend non and part member families?

    if not, then why is it ok for the church to place restrictions on the nature of beverage served at its party on its property but not for me to do the same at my party on my property. what is so different, or is the church’s decision to not allow alcohol at the ward christmas party satanic too, in that it seeks to make all miserable.

    assuming Christ is the head of the mormon church or at least a member of it’s senior legislative body responsible for the command, among others, that alcohol be used for the body only externally and not to be drunk. And baring in mind, as you have enjoyed pointing out, that this very same being did in fact drink alcohol himself. are we to conclude that Christ is being a hypocrite on this issue? Or could it just be the case that a condition of being in Christs church exists today that didnt then, and Christs adherence or otherwise to a commandment he wasn’r even subject to has no relevance to whether or not alcohol is considered evil per se in 2008.

    finally just wanted to say that you dont need to be so insecure about this, i’m certain your friends will still come to your parties even if you dont let the alcohol in. you might find .they think your just as cool sans alcohol.

  214. Barcelo, you must avoid wearing masks on Halloween then. And burning candles. Or cooking food in your home…you only reheat it, right?

    Kind of being facetious…in addition to practical reasons for no alcohol in the chapel , there are plenty of spiritual ones too.

    But the difference is that Steve’s Christmas party is not done in the name of or under the direction of the Church. He is doing it as a service to his co-workers and his employer, so it seems okay/polite/neighborly that whatever custom is native to that context should trump.

    Maybe Steve has a different answer though.

    Next step: So, what if he is hosting a Christmas party for a bunch of serial killers?

  215. barcelo: “if not, then why is it ok for the church to place restrictions on the nature of beverage served”

    Where does Steve say it’s not ok for someone to place restrictions? Reading comprehension…

  216. Oh no. I’ve been saying “McQ” in my head for ages. Now I have to mentally reconfigure everything!

  217. Steve Evans says:

    Barcelo, your comment is too mysteriously nonsensical for me to take it poorly.

    [My wife has asked me in the spirit of the holidays to remove the rest of my comment. I suspect she is drunk]

  218. aileen, i really appreciate your comment. my side of the family is catholic (and irish, at that!) and my husband’s side is lds, in varying degrees of activity. interestingly, MY side refuses to drink in front of my kids. HIS side, remember that they were all at least raised lds, has NO respect whatsoever for those around them when they drink. my parents can have a glass of wine with dinner, but his family drinks till the kegs and bottles run out, then they go get more. vomiting, fistfights, and more abound.

  219. meems, I’m just honored that you’re talking to me in your head. Feel free to call me whatever you want.

  220. I think the best evidence that wine in Christ’s day wasn’t just watered down health tonic, was that the label “wine bibber” was used as an insult in the OT, and thrown at Christ in the NT. If wine had simply been the normal beverage, and not used for becoming intoxicated, it certainly wouldn’t have been employed as an insult and lumped together with being “gluttonous” and a “friend of sinners and publicans.” If not, it would have been the equivalent of cursing someone as a “Aquafina lush” today.

  221. I’ve never been to a holiday party where alcohol was served and everyone drank “responsibly”. Are you sure this could happen, Steve? Maybe I just hang out with the wrong sort of people. I voted no.

  222. Aaron Brown says:


  223. I realize I’m a latecomer to the discussion, but had to chime in.

    I’ve worked in politics in the DC area for nearly 10 years. I can’t think of a single party I’ve been too (work-related) that didn’t have alcohol WITH THE EXCEPTIONS of my own. I’ve hosted several with coworkers at my home and never once has anyone even mentioned anything about them being “dry” events. Alcohol was never expected, asked for or missed.

    I think it’s an awfully shallow judgement on those who drink socially to assume they would be offended at most, or vocal at least about not being served in someone’s home. Give them some decent credit.

  224. #214
    I fear you’ve missed my point. I’m certainly not advocating that we run our housesholds as if they were a chapel. My point is if it’s not a problem to have an alcohol restriction at the chapel, then whats the problem with hosting a party and restricting alcohol there too? If it’s rude/intolerant etc. of me not to let you bring alcohol in my home then surely it’s rude/intolerant etc. of the church not to allow it in the chapels? if not, then I still don’t get the difference between the church’s decisions and mine – church’s property = churches rules, my property = my rules, however stupid any of the rules you know the rules and therefore it’s just a matter of respect whether to follow them or not.

    Next step: So, what if he is hosting a Christmas party for a bunch of serial killers?

    yes, so what if he does?

    Where does it say that I said he said that? Please look closely and you’ll see that the sentence begins with the words ‘if not’ and so the rest of the sentence, and it’s application or not to Steve Evans entirely depends upon the answer given to the question posed in para 1. reading comprehension…

    #217 sorry you didn’t get it. if what you were going to type was overly rude then I appreciate your wifes wise influence over you on this occasion. A simpler question then, would you allow alcohol to be brought and consumed at the chapel. lets say it’s a christmas party, adults only, but a mixture of members and their non-member friends and family.

  225. Steve Evans says:

    barcelo, stop being silly and try to reason based on the hypotheticals at hand. Inventing more fictions won’t help you solve problems.

  226. When I got to parties at non-LDS homes, I don’t expect them to have Diet Coke, or whatever, to cater to my beliefs. I’ve been at parties where I’ve had to get a glass of water from the tap. I don’t make demands on a host–I would expect the same from my non-LDS friends in my home.

    I did host a dinner party, however, where a friend brought her new boyfriend, and, to be friendly, he brought a nice bottle of wine, and set it down proudly in the middle of the table. His girlfriend whispered that I was Mormon, and he was profoundly embarressed and asked if he should leave. I figured that his gesture was meant with kindness, so I let him open the wine, and I think about 2 people drank about 2 glasses (in silly little cups because I obviously had no wine glasses). Then everybody left after dinner to go to a nightclub. I stayed home and cleaned up, but told the guy to take his wine with him, which he happily did.

    I wouldn’t initiate a party at my home and serve alcohol. I have a right in my home to maintain an environment compatible to my beliefs. But, like Melissa said, I doubt any social drinker would be offended about it.

  227. (in silly little cups because I obviously had no wine glasses)

    I think everyone should have fancy glasses, regardless of views on alcohol imbibing. Mocktails, people!

  228. It seems to me like just good manners that one should respect the menu selections and other parameters of the host. What I find a little odd is the idea that it is somehow rude or inappropriate for a host to have feelings about what the event at their home should look like. Weird.

  229. I think you are all missing the point of the post. The hypothetical is that it’s an office party and that your coworkers have asked to be able to bring alcohol as has been permitted in the past (presumably at other venues). Given those requests, and the fact that the office party has included alcohol before, the idea that people are never going to bring up the idea of including alcohol in the party is nonsensical. That ship has sailed. It has already been brought up.

    No one’s suggesting that your co-workers will be offended by your intolerance for their beverage choices, just that they may choose not to attend, not to stay long or that they may have a less-enjoyable time.

    Given all that, the question is whether you accommodate their (I think, reasonable) requests or not.

    teancum, it’s weird to ask whether the office party will be conducted the same as previous years?

  230. No. I think it is weird to suggest that someone who is asked to host a party (any party) in their home should not be able to do so on their terms. Please note, I do not think there is a right or wrong answer to the survey question. If you are ok with alcohol at the holiday party in your home, I do not think you are a bad host, a bad Mormon or a bad person. Similarly, I do not think that someone who is willing to host the party but does not want to serve alcohol is a bad host, a bad (intolerant) Mormon or a bad person.

  231. #230: “No. I think it is weird to suggest that someone who is asked to host a party (any party) in their home should not be able to do so on their terms.”

    Yes, it is weird to suggest that, which is why nobody in this thread is suggesting that. Where does anyone argue that the host can’t set the terms?? You and barcelo both seem to be attacking this straw man. The question isn’t whether you are allowed to ban alcohol (everyone is saying you can), but whether you are allowed to choose to not ban alcohol (where “allowed” means still a good Mormon or whatever).

  232. Seriously. The entire reason for a poll on the topic is because of the fact that a host can set the terms of the party. Otherwise what on earth are we talking about?

  233. #231

    so are we really all agreed that banning alcohol at your own party is fine? maybe I and others are too defensive but I genuinely got the impression that that wasn’t ok. I think if we’re all agreed that’s excellent progress.

    In the spirit of agreement then, could we change the answers to
    1) sure, i have no problem with boyb in my home.
    2) no byob party in my home, i just wouldn’t feel comfortable with alcohol in my home.

    At the moment if I decide i don’t want to hold the party, or hold it sans alcohol I’m instantly in cahoots with satan himself pushing my misery based agenda. no wonder i got confused and thought it wasn’t ok to choose to ban the alcohol.

  234. Steve Evans says:

    The answers were tongue-in-cheek, and quite obviously so. I apologize for the confusion!

  235. I didn’t think this was a question of what was fine or not fine. I thought Steve just wanted to set a rabbit running and see how many dogs would chase it. (Not that I’m calling us all dogs, mind you. Some of us are more like exotic birds.)

  236. Steve Evans says:

    Heather, thou speakest truly.

  237. Clearly too many comments to read all of them. I sure appreciate when I am a guest and they went out of their way to make me comfortable by providing non-alcoholic drinks. I see no problem being as good of a host as is reasonable. I would make the alcohol policy clear. I prefer to allow them to bring their own than for me to provide it. But I do want to be around people that are relaxed and not uptight so let them drink up.

  238. A- I don’t think drinking is immoral. (Gasp!)
    B- I don’t think providing non-alcoholic drinks=providing alcoholic drinks. There are more reasons that simply religious ones for why someone wouldn’t be partaking of alcoholic beverages. By serving a variety of non-alcoholic beverages you are ensuring that EVERYONE has something to drink. Recovering alcoholics, those on certain medications, and mormons can all pick one of your non-alcoholic beverages. So, I think a host who chooses this option is the best kind of host…their guests cannot leave drunk or even slightly inebriated, no recovering alcoholics are tempted, LDS people are safe, no one can suffer alcohol poisoning…and everyone has something they can choose. Talk about being a good host! How to be a good guest? Ask if there is something they can bring (don’t suggest bringing something you know the host doesn’t have in their house…if they need it they will suggest you bring it when you ask what you can bring), be there reasonably on time, enjoy the party, behave appropriately with all other guests, leave at the right time.

  239. I love this thread! It is so seasonally dysfunctional, like my family. lol

  240. My friends and neighbors know that a party at my house is a dry party. I throw tons of them and no one expects differently. And do you know what? I’m still known for the best parties in town!

  241. Re: 231 & 232: Of course the premise of the poll and this thread is that the hosts may choose to allow alcohol in their home or not. And, as I have mentioned, I do not think there is a “right” answer. My observation was only that some commenters feel that making the choice to go dry is somehow inhospitable (## 58, 95, 108), intolerant (##86, 125, 138) or naive (## 85, 100). There was even the suggestion that only a whack-job hosting a lame-ass party would impose such restrictions. I was merely disagreeing with the view that there were no valid, respectable reasons for choosing not to allow alcohol in one’s home. Or, that one could not make such a decision without being inhospitable, intolerant or naïve (or a lame-ass whack-job).

  242. I was too lazy to go back and identify the comments teancum has listed — but those are the ones I had in mind when I referred to “condemning” those who, like me, consider that alcohol, even under the guise of hospitality, breaks the spirit I try to create in my home.

  243. Steve Evans says:

    Teancum, the comments you cite do not say what you assert — at least mine don’t, not even close. If anything your little list just sounds like some beefs with MCQ, in which case I encourage the two of you to struggle to the death (preferably somewhere else). Anyways, it’s pretty weak IMO to blame others for an atmosphere of intolerance when you consistently don’t understand what they’re saying. Of course there are valid and respectable reasons for choosing not to allow alcohol in one’s home. I defy you to demonstrate where anyone on this thread has said otherwise.

    Ardis, we’re throwing around a hypothetical here, not condemning people. I don’t think our Church is in the business of condemning people over their hypothetical views!

  244. One of the first things that attracted me to this church was that the members seemed to actually live their religion, not just talk about it. I don’t think the commandments, including the WOW, are intended just for us. They are intended as instructions for all of God’s children and aiding and abetting anyone in breaking a commandment can’t be a good thing for us to do. Perhaps drinking alcohol is not immoral but it is forbidden.

  245. Well, Steve, you are wrong. You equated hosting a party without alcohol with “policing” drinking by others others (as if). Others put it on the same plane as serving vegetarians pork roast and saying, “Dig in, suckas!” I believe the term “social pariah” was used to describe Mormons who, though they did not think alcohol was immoral per se, just don’t like being around it. Then, there were the suggestions that those who do not want drinking in their home simply must not have the parenting skills to explain drinking to their children, or perhaps don’t understand that Jesus drank wine. PErhaps Ardis and I are crazy, but these statements seem a little judgmental.

  246. Steve Evans says:

    Well, Teancum, you are wrong. You were most definitely wrong as to each of my comments that you cited, above – in every single instance. It is clear you are looking for offense, and now you have found it however contrived. How about you take a break for a while, as you are not doing yourself any favors by continuing to comment. Save the crazy label for yourself, not Ardis.

  247. You make the conclusory statement that I am wrong about your comments, yet you do not explain or defend them (and, of course, there are the comments by others). I guess you and I just disagree about these comments message and tone. So, I am happy to end our dialogue on this point.

  248. Thomas Parkin says:

    “I think everyone should have fancy glasses, regardless of views on alcohol imbibing”


    How about silly straws? I’m of the opinion that one should drink out of strait and narrow straws, if one must use a straw, at all. But I understand that silly straws are out there, and many people use them without becoming bad people. Well, they don’t become terrible people, anyway. Not evil, exactly. ~

  249. teancum, you cited two comments of mine. I am more than happy to show you exactly why you are wrong, although the burden is more rightfully on you as an initial matter to back up your assertions. Let’s take them in order, shall we?

    #58 (cited to show that I “feel that making the choice to go dry is somehow inhospitable” and that I “equated hosting a party without alcohol with “policing” drinking by others others (as if)”): “Kathy, the Word of Wisdom is personally kept or it is not. It’s not your job to police the drinking of others, whether they are LDS or muslim. Doing so goes beyond the scope and purpose of the Word of Wisdom.”

    I am clearly addressing Kathy Soper’s comment #56, in which she asked, “What do I do about my LDS coworkers who don’t honor the WofW? Are they banned from the party?” As you can see, I do not mention inhospitability at all, nor am I talking in that comment at all about hosting a party without alcohol. If read in context and given more than a half-assed glance, I am clearly stating that in the scenario where a Mormon hosted a BYOB party, there would be no need to ban other Mormons from such a party whether they drink or not.

    #138 (cited to show that I “feel that making the choice to go dry is somehow …intolerant”): “Susan, I have a niece, and while she’s not in a tent yet I refuse to fence her in like some of you would like. FREE TO CHOOSE!!”

    This comment is obviously in reply to Susan’s #136, which says “This thread really bums me out. I’m with Tatiana. I’m thinking Steve and MCQ don’t have a niece who’s living in a tent down by the river because she’s an alcholic.” My reply is little more than a jest about the concept of causing one’s niece to move into a tent down by the river. There is no reference whatsover to intolerance, whether on my part or Susan’s.

    You’re zero for two. It’s not even a question of disagreement on interpretation. There is no possible interpretation of my comments that would support your assertions. If I sound a bit irritated with you, perhaps now you understand why — it is because you consistently and repeatedly GET IT WRONG, and that it takes time to sit you down and explain it to you. Do you still want to continue asserting that the comments you specifically cited really say what you say they do?

  250. Thomas Parkin says:

    Boy it is easy to see both sides on this one.

    On one hand, people want to set and maintain a spiritual tone in their home, and see allowing alcohol as detrimental to that. That really isn’t hard to see. Alcohol, even if used responsibly and even if not evil in and of itself, shares psychic space with all kinds of things that are bad, or worse. I actually have a lot of respect for this view. It needn’t be condemning or haughty, it can simply be an expression of preference in what is, after all, sacred space.

    On the other hand, in the context of my life, I have a very hard time seeing a little wine drinking at the party as such a bad thing that it needs to even be looked at askance. I probably wouldn’t have anyone doing jelly shots off anyone’s belly at a party I host. But good beers or wines, or champagne, at say a holiday work party, I probably would not object to. Maybe I’m desensitized by the number of evenings I began with two shots of JD and a coke back. I can’t see light, social drinking as objectionable in those who haven’t made spiritual promises to abstain. And I don’t want a spirit in my home that rejects in other people what isn’t evil in those people.

    In my case it’s probably a little moot, as my hosting a party that involves both Mormons and non-Mormons is about as likely as an alien invasion from Betelgeuse. ~

  251. Thomas Parkin says:

    Here’s something to take it farther. My wife isn’t a member, as I’ve said many times. She drinks coffee always and, although opportunities are for her to drink are much fewer than they were in the past, she still would have some wine or a decent non-‘merikan beer from time to time. This will happen in _our_ home. ~

  252. Steve, I’m not fighting teancum unless he promises to leave his javelin home.

  253. And BTW teancum, the whack-job, lame-ass comment was intended to be funny. Sorry if you got offended, but maybe you should not take things so seriously. When someone makes an obviously over-the-top comment, sometimes that means it is intended to provoke hilarity, rather than offense. The problem is that having to explain that drains all the fun out of it.

  254. Thomas, I thought you were a believer.

    They are coming. And with galactic-strength intoxicating drinks in hand.

  255. 243: The party is hypothetical, Steve. The views, so far as I can tell, are real.

    If I’ve misunderstood that, I apologize and amend my own stated views: at my parties, everyone will be forced to drink cranberry juice. You can mix in whatever you please, from vodka to hot chocolate, but the cranberry juice is mandatory. Also, you will have to drink while standing on your head.

  256. Steve: So you interpreted Kathy’s comment as a simple question about whether the host should prohibit some, based upon religious affiliation, from drinking at a party where alcohol was served? I do not know her, but assume that almost everyone would think that goes beyond the pale. I interpreted her comment more broadly, highlighting the fact that decisions about whose drinking has moral implications and whose does not may not always be easy. A reasonable way to avoid involvement in the whole issue is not to serve alcohol. Taken in that light, your response to her comment seemed to suggest that her concerns about who was and who was not drinking were intolerant or judgmental. If I read her comments and your response too broadly, I am profoundly sorry. I have clearly caused you some angst, which was not my intent.

    And, I am really not offended by anything said in this thread. Honestly, all I am saying is that, if someone is nice enough to host the office party in their home, it would be kind of rude and ungrateful to fault them for doing so in a way that makes them comfortable (and yes, I know that is not what the poll said). Perhaps some will not love the party, in which case they should volunteer to host it the next year. That’s all.

  257. Steve Evans says:

    teancum, sorry — your assumptions about both her comment and my response are incorrect. Shall we move on?

    Ardis — your party will banish urinary tract infections to the netherworld. I’m in.

  258. Thomas Parkin says:


    Oh, I am a believer. Aliens, egg shaped homes, seventh level vibrations, the government poisoning us with exhaust fumes from jets, frogs turning into princes, negative ion generators, getting clear, golden plates, the airing of grievances, young girls falling in love with vampires, the CIA is after me … I believe in all that stuff.

    By the way, ever listen to Coast to Coast? It’s a talk radio show, I think used to be hosted by a guy named Art Bell. It seems to come on local talk radio about 10PM … in the past I’ve only heard it very late at night as I was driving cross country. I can usually handle about ten minutes. Everything seems so rational. At five minutes I’m usually laughing, at seven minutes a kind of cognitive dissonance sets in … and at ten minutes, the radio goes off or I’m going to have a problem with my sanity. ~

  259. Healthy kidneys and the cure for hiccoughs — let’s party on.

  260. I recommend that no one watches this, but at 10:05 it becomes wicked relevant:

  261. Thomas, I’m so relieved. I feared moving to Utah had ruined you already.

  262. former_drinker says:

    as a current temple recommend holder yet former drinker i must say it’s no big deal to go to a party without alcohol. it will be more confusing to non-mormon guests if you serve alcohol because they’ll know it goes against your beliefs. plus, you’ll have better conversations and more genuine fun if no one at the party is tipsy or drunk. and afterward all the drinkers can go get wasted if they want. best party ever!

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