Word of Wisdom

(also see “Obedience”)

 

Pros of Mormonism from the perspective of the
Believer
Nonbeliever
Many believers are grateful for a God that is aware of us and gives pertinent warnings for these latter days. The Word of Wisdom is a great example of this, as obedience to the word of wisdom prevents addiction to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs that have ruined or tarnished countless lives. For those with genetic tendencies for addiction, the counsel in the Word of Wisdom to completely avoid these drugs is sound.
 
The believer also knows that the word of wisdom is important because it draws you closer to God. Those who are not under the influence of any sort of drug are more likely to be able to feel the promptings of the spirit and to feel God’s love.
The nonbeliever probably agrees that the Word of Wisdom would prevent addiction to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs that have ruined or tarnished countless lives. For those with genetic tendencies for addiction, the counsel in the Word of Wisdom to completely avoid these drugs is sound.
 
Cons of Mormonism
from the perspective of the
Believer
Nonbeliever
There seems to be evidence that coffee and tea are not generally harmful and might even be beneficial. Tea is a big part of some cultures, and it can be offensive to not drink it. Alcohol is a huge component of almost every culture, and abstaining from alcohol often leads to missing out on many social opportunities and can even affect employment. Many people find great enjoyment and satisfaction from alcohol, tea, and coffee, and they are able to do so in moderation without addictions that lower their quality of life. Many believers thus sometimes feel that they are “missing out” when they obey the word of wisdom and might feel they experience some direct social harms as well. Despite this, many believers accept the Word of Wisdom anyway and gladly obey it in faith that they will be blessed for it.
 
 
There seems to be evidence that coffee and tea are not generally harmful and might even be beneficial. Tea is a big part of some cultures, and it can be offensive to not drink it. Alcohol is a huge component of almost every culture, and abstaining from alcohol often leads to missing out on many social opportunities and can even affect employment. Many people find great enjoyment and satisfaction from alcohol, tea, and coffee, and they are able to do so in moderation without addictions that lower their quality of life. The nonbeliever is more likely to have tried these beverages, enjoyed of their goodness, and to not be willing to live by the word of wisdom and abstain from these substances. Considering that there is little evidence that partaking of coffee, tea, and even alcohol in moderation is harmful, there is ample reason for a nonbeliever to reject the Word of Wisdom.
 
The nonbeliever is also likely to be frustrated about why God would reveal a law of health that told people to abstain from tea and coffee but not something far more useful and healthy like boiling water prior to drinking it.
 
There are also some oddities to the Word of Wisdom that the nonbeliever might be less likely to brush over, such as the hypocrisy of Mormons eating eating meat outside of times of famine, cold, or winter. They also might wonder why it’s OK now for Mormons to eat corn, oats, and rye.
 
The nonbeliever is also more likely to be unhappy with the requirement to obey the word of wisdom given that Jesus drank wine, many modern prophets drank alcohol and smoked. D&C 89 even implies that beer is OK to drink.
 
In sum, to many nonbelievers, the word of wisdom can seem nonsensical and contradictory, so much so that it becomes an unbearable part of Mormonism.
 
The nonbeliever might also be uncomfortable with the doctrinal idea that God would prohibit somebody from receiving “saving ordinances” in the temple or from seeing a family member or friend get married because of a cup of tea.  Why did the word of wisdom turn into a litmus test for temple admission and righteousness? Is the Word of Wisdom nothing more than a tool to test the limits of our obedience?

 

Comments relating to your lived experience with Mormonism are welcome. Although it can be difficult to distinguish at times, please focus on how the church helps and harms rather than it being true vs untrue.

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