Friday, August 31, 2012

Mormons and Caffeine

There were lots of Utah TV news reports in late August 2012 on so-called clarifications about the LDS Church's Word of Wisdom vs. caffeine.
What I saw was little in clarification and a lot in supposition.
Yes, caffeine and cola drinks are NOT mentioned in the Church's Word of Wisdom doctrine.
So, yes, technically church doctrine does not oppose drinking colas on that basis, as "hot drinks" in the Word of Wisdom officially only refer to coffee and tea drinking.
However, the church has always stated that its members should avoid harmful and habit forming drugs.
Also, in October of 2013, some caffeinated soft drinks accidentally ended up for sale at BYU. The drinks, once discovered, were promptly removed.
So, BYU or church leaders can say caffeinated drinks are not specifically against church policy, but their actions say otherwise, since they are not sold at BYU or at any College Institute of Religion.
As I've watched regular cola drinkers over the years, some are certainly addicted to the stuff.
There's enough caffeine in colas to be obviously especially harmful to young children the most.
Now consider this, the drugs LSD and Heroin are not mentioned in the Word of Wisdom revelation (D and C section 89), so are they OK then?
And, consider this: only cola drinks WITHOUT caffeine are sold on the church's BYU campus or likely all of the church's Institutes of Religion. So, what does that tell you?
(And, non-caffeine colas only started showing up in Institutes of Religion in the late 1980s and I think that's kind of church policy to not sell cola drinks with caffeine there.)
Anyone who wants to support their caffeine cola habit can probably rationalize that it is OK. But, deep down I bet most such drinkers have their doubts.
Some cola is little short of "cold coffee," based on caffeine content.
I also have problems with "Coca Cola," in that it is made socially into the popular crowd drink. So, if you don't drink it, you're not hip.
In reasonable moderation, cola drinks with caffeine are probably OK. But, how do you define "reasonable?"
My wife will sometimes drink a caffeine-loaded cola to stop a headache. That's probably OK, if it works, as a kind of medicine.
(She thinks I drink too many soft drinks period.)
I personally hate the cola taste and so there's no issue for me here. And, there are some non-cola drinks that have caffeine in them as well (like Mountain Dew, which I also dislike the taste of.)
-Regarding coffee and tea:
It ISN'T just the caffeine in those drinks that is against the Word of Wisdom.
By the same logic of 'actions speak louder than words' -- there is NO decaf coffee or tea on sale at BYU or any Institute of Religion.
That's because there are other ingredients in those that are bad.
Also, "hot drinks" is a core principle of the Word of Wisdom, as in setting the Lord's  people apart and distinct from the rest of the world ...
Remember: It isn't evil or a sin for non-LDS members to drink caffeine or coffee or tea. But it is a sin for Church members, who should know better, to do so and who are held to a HIGHER standard..

Conclusion: All things in moderation is probably the best advice and that includes chocolate, meat, soft drinks in general, candy and any food or drink. Why, even drinking too much water can make you sick, or kill you.
But coffee, tea and any caffeinated soft drinks (or other drinks with that ingredient) are AGAINST the Word of Wisdom.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Why Aren't Bells Rung at the End of the Block Time?

The Wards I've been in, past and present, always seem to make it a point to have someone ring the hallway bell five minutes before the end of Sunday School and then again when it should be over.
I've never understood why two similar bells rung at the end of block time (for wards who have Sacrament meeting first)  don't exist. That's at the end of Priesthood, Relief Society and Primary.
So, when I was a substitute bell ringer the other week, I decided my new unofficial calling is to ring the bells at the end of block, if only to be consistent, and help ensure the block time ends properly on time.
Of course, if I have to substitute teach High Priest group again (or say a closing prayer), that may not happen, but otherwise, it is my new goal.
--In a related concern, my chapel lacks a block on its west wall. There is a clock on its east wall, but that's only visible to those on the stand, or those who sit on the west side of the chapel.
I think this is also an inconsistent practice, that makes no sense.
And, at a recent fast and testimony meeting, I spotted a mother and daughter get halfway toward the podium from the back overflow, only to see the bishopric close the meeting. Those two were sitting on the east side of the overflow, where the lone clock is NOT visible on the east wall.

It's "Nigh" unto Kolob, Not "Hie" unto Kolob

OK, my eyebrows raise when I see the title of a song in the LDS Hymn book, "Hie unto Kolob." (page 284).
Its title is simply NOT doctrinally correct.
(Some LDS artwork is not doctrinally correct either, so this should come as no real surprise.)
Based on the Book of Abraham 3:1-4, 9, the song takes an incorrect title.
"Hie" is not "Nigh."
"Hie" in Old English means "to quickly, hasten, hurry," according to Webster's Dictionary. "Hie" is NOT found in the Book of Abraham.
"Nigh" means "nearly, almost," according to Webster. "Nigh" is found in the Book of Abraham.
"And thus there shall be the reckoning of the time of one planet above another, until thou come nigh unto Kolob, which Kolob is after the reckoning of the Lord's time; which Kolob is set nigh unto the throne of God, to govern all those planets which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest."  (Abraham 3:9).
That's what the scriptures states, "nigh" twice.

Brother Phelps may have aided the Prophet Joseph Smith in the translation of the Book of Abraham, but he indirectly helps to perpetuate an incorrect belief among LDS Church members today.
Phelp's song essentially says to hurry to Kolob, as if Kolob is the eternal goal of church members.
The problem is that I feel that most church members incorrectly believe Kolob is WHERE God actually dwells.
In fact, Kolob is simply the name of a great star that is NEAREST where God dwells (Abraham 3:3) and not actually the place where God dwells.
(We are given no specific name as to God's residence, except perhaps highest level of the Celestial Kingdom.)
I feel Abraham chapter 3 is more than an astronomy lesson.
The Lord is saying to draw near unto him, like Kolob is.
And, anyone who strives for eternal perfection -- required for becoming like God -- knows you can't hurry, or hasten that process. It take time and goes precept by precept.
Also, a man CAN'T be perfect in this life. (Jesus Christ was the only perfect person to have ever lived on Earth.) So, the Lord may also be implying to become as "nearly, almost" as perfect as you can in this life -- thus coming nigh unto Kolob.
That's my two cents on that subject.

--In another beef about an LDS hymn, a second song is "Come,Come, Ye Saints" (LDS Hymns Pages 30 and 326.)
A key phrase in that rousing Mormon pioneer rendition is "All is well, all is well."
Why is that particular phrase in that song?
Had the hymn's writer, William Clayton, not read the Book of Mormon enough or what?
"Wo be unto him that crieth All is well!" (2 Nephi 28:25).
Was Clayton oblivious to that verse or what?
Why did he have to use the phrase exactly as mentioned in the Book of Mormon in the hymn?
Clayton's original name for the hymn was actually "All is Well," later changed to "Come, Come, Ye Saints." So, at least that's one improvement in the song over the years and likely evidence that I'm NOT the only church member to have a problem with the "all is well" phrase.
Now I'm not saying for things NOT to well with the Mormon Pioneers, early church members,or even today's Saints.
Clayton COULD HAVE used a different word, instead of "well" in the song.
"All is clear"; "all is serene"; "all is great"; or "all is best" could have been possible substitutes.
Normally, as in "nigh unto Kolob," it may be best to quote scripture, but not when it is clearly a negative, as with 2 Nephi 28:25.
--There is already a precedent for doctrinal changes in LDS Hymns. "I am a Child of God" had a one word change from "know" to "do," after a suggestion by then Apostle Spencer W. Kimball.
--I discussed doctrinal problems with the two hymns talked about above with a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He figures it was all in the smoother kind of wording as to why the songs came out the way they did. 

--UPDATE: After further thought and also after considering a reader's comments below, here's a clarification:

The LDS realm of arts, music and artwork, isn't always strictly doctrinally correct and may not have to be.
There's a "correct for its purpose" doctrine in the LDS Church and the arts probably fall under that umbrella.
While some hymns may not be strictly doctrinally correct, they can still elevate a congregation spiritually.
In the art realm, the Statues of the Angel Moroni commonly found may or may not be accurate likenesses of Moroni himself, but they still stand for much truth and are powerful symbols of the restoration of the Gospel.
The world of arts often takes certain liberties, it has to, to even be created.
Songs aren't necessarily written to be doctrinal essays and probably should not be analyzed as such. They are rousing musical renditions to honor God and evoke his Spirit. That is their purpose. Absolute correct doctrine in a hymn is a priority much further down the line of importance ...







 




Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A More Authentic Rendering of Jesus Christ at the Second Coming Rendering

I prefer my doctrine to be as accurate as possible.


Hence, I took my limited -- make that very, very limited artistic ability -- at making the famous LDS Church Second Coming of Jesus Christ drawing in my home more authentic by coloring Jesus to have red apparel.
That's how Christ will look when he comes again (Doctrine and Covenants 133:48).
No, I don't care for watered-down doctrine.
That's why my favorite Standard Work is the Doctrine and Covenants.
No parables, no allegories, just straight-forward doctrine.
Now the red does make the painting stand out more in the room, but is that bad?
(Note that some of these Second Coming Christ paintings do have Jesus wearing a red-colored sash at his waist, so there is some small consideration to doctrinal accuracy with the work.)
In fact, it was a non-LDS artist, commissioned by the LDS Church, who drew this famous painting. So,  it is amazing how well it turned out anyway, considering it is one of the most used depictions of Jesus in the church today.
UPDATE: Nov. 24, 2012: My wife made me move this doctored painting from the downstairs family room into my den. She doesn't care for it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Unknown Wild Card in Earth Sciences

Man thinks he knows a lot about science. At least as far as the basics go.
But, no he does not!
Man might have landed a small car size rover successfully on Mars, but he has no true concept of Earth science.
According to LDS doctrine, the entire planet earth is one huge, single living thing.
(D&C 88:25-26).
Factor that into today's science!
You can't because God isn't letting man understand that, but it is the wild card in earth science.
No matter how many natural disasters man can learn about as being possible, he doesn't generally understand that God is in control of the entire planet, through the Earth, a living thing itself, that does abide the law of a Celestial Kingdom.