Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Meat Eating and the Gospel

IS it OK to eat meat as an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
Yes, in moderation.
The Church’s “Word of Wisdom” states:
“Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly.”
“And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.” (Doctrine and Covenants 89:12-13).
It is interesting to note that there was no comma in verse 12, after the word “used” until the 1920s.
I have a copy of a D&C published in 1918 and there is not comma there. Presumably, B.H. Roberts added the comma, when he added footnotes in later editions.
Since the word “only” basically used to mean “except” in the 1800s, the comma was probably warranted, because substituting the word “except” for “only” would have the verse read like this:
“And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, except in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.”
Still, the fact the Lord placed the word “not” into verse 12 is intriguing. Take the word “not” out and the verse pretty much reads with the meaning that the Lord is pleased when you eat meats only in winter, cold or times of famine.
So, one could argue that in today’s world of refrigeration, the winter, cold or famine references may not apply. It did in Joseph Smith’s time for sure, though …
Notwithstanding, the accent on the entire verse is on “sparingly” usage for eating meats.
What does “sparingly” mean?
The Cambridge Dictionary states the meaning of the word is  “using very little of something.”
Indeed, the very day I decided to write this blog, I found this timely tidbit out there:
In an article, “What Science Has to Say About Red Meat,” from Yahoo Health News, Aug. 19, 2014, it advised consumers practice moderation in eating meat.
From increased cancer risk or a higher possibility of heart attack, too much meat is not a good thing,
However, the Lord does not advise being a vegetarian either, at least in the context of preaching publicly NOT to eat meats:
“Any whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God.” (D&C 49:18).
And, the Lord also cautioned against wasting meat or killing for pleasure only:
“And wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need.” (D&C 49:21).
So, hunting for sport ONLY is not favored by the Lord.
The “Word of Wisdom” itself was originally given as a “greeting” and as a principle with the promise and NOT as a commandment.
Yet, the avoidance of alcohol, coffee, tea, or tobacco is now accepted as a commandment to the Saints, from Brigham Young’s time as prophet to today.
The rest of the Word of Wisdom, including eating meat sparingly, is likely still just good advice from the Lord.
I can find no General Authority discourses where eating meat is discouraged and all official LDS-sponsored dinners I've been to over the decades have included meat on the menu.
(One must also understand that the "Word of Wisdom" isn't purely about health matters. It is also a way the Lord separates his people from the world, by openly have them act differently, by not drinking coffee, for example.)



-In the Millennium, I don’t believe anyone will be eating meats. At the terrestrial world level, animals like the lion will not be meat-eaters, but will lay down with the lamb, safely together. Isaiah 11:7 states that the lion shall eat straw, like the ox, in the millennium.
So, why won’t man too be a vegetarian then?
Man will eat only what he raises in the field for his terrestrial world diet (see Isaiah 65:18-23).
(Myself, if I had to kill game or beasts for my own meat now; that prospect alone would make me a hasty vegetarian.)






Saturday, August 9, 2014

An LDS Temple Ship on the Seven Seas?

By Lynn Arave

During a recent visit for official LDS Church research on the second floor of the LDS History Building, one of the church employees assisting me stumbled across a rare find --- something that I had never heard of before ...
The Church at one time considered creating a temple on a large ship.
It could sail to countries where there was no temple and offer the blessings of the sacred structure to church members who could reach the coastline ports.
The special ship would feature a celestial room in its center, where normally the large dining room on a cruise ship is. With lodging, water, dining facilities, etc., this idea had merit, as self-contained traveling temple, complete with hotel rooms for temple patrons.
This was a proposal made in the late 1960s.
It never happened, but it was studied. In fact, a suitable ship was available for purchase for $2 million and another $2 million could have made it temple worthy.
Now days, temples are scattered all over the world. So, a sailing temple would likely not be needed today.
A temple on the seven seas ... who knew?
-What doomed this unique idea?
None other than boundary issues.
According to LDS Church policy, temples have to be located inside a stake's boundaries.
Since the temple was roving and could not be tied to any specific stake of the Church, the project was considered not doctrinally correct.
Could they not have made the sailing ship an exception to the stake boundary policy? Yes, but again that didn't happen either.
President Joseph Fielding Smith was said to have studied the idea for a temple ship, but could find no precedent where it could be exempt from the policy of a temple having to be inside a stake. So, he said no to the idea in 1970 and that was it.
So, the "USS Celestial" never set sail.
-For me, there was already a precedent set -- that the Israelites had a roving temple for many decades in the past. They were technically a stake on wheels and that worked way back then.

-Some believe that the "Satan has power over the water" concept in the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C 61) is what stopped the creation of the temple ship. I disagree, since that's also a myth of why full-time missionaries can't go swimming. It is a prophecy for the future, yet to be fulfilled and not pertinent to either swimming or the temple ship.