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"Forbidding to Abstain from Eating Meat" :) Hold onto your hats!!

Recently in talking with a friend, he pointed something out to me in the scriptures that I had never noticed before.  Maybe I'm the only one who hasn't noticed it before, but I doubt it.  :)   My mis-reading of this scripture seems pretty universal.  So sit down and hold onto your hats!!

You know how double negatives work:

I'm going to the store.
I'm not going to the store.
I'm not not going to the store. --> Now we're sort of back to going to the store.

Or like in math:  4 = 4;    -4 = -4;    -(-4) = 4

So turn to D&C 49: 18 and look at what it really says.  I've been missing the double negative all these years:

"And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God;"

Notice -- who is not ordained of God?  The person who forbids.  Forbids what?  Forbids abstaining!  Not forbids eating meat, but rather forbids abstaining.  Wow!  Get it?  I've been reading this scripture all these years as though it was saying that the person is not ordained of God who forbids eating meat.  That is not what it says.  One more time, it says:

The person is not ordained of God who forbids abstaining from eating meat, i.e. the person is not ordained of God who forbids vegetarianism!  Neat, no?

Now this whole set of passages makes sense, which it formerly didn't.

D&C 49: 18-21
18 And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God; 19 For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance. 20 But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.
21 And wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need.

In other words, it's wonderful in God's eyes to abstain from eating meat, except when we need it in times of winter, cold, famine, excess hunger, and to save our lives.  Life is precious.  But the animals give themselves to us willingly if we need them to save our lives.  (See the JS translation of Gen. 9: 10-11 on pg 797 of your quadruple combination, and also D&C 89: 12-15).

I believe Heavenly Father is always careful about how He says things, and I believe that He knew exactly that saying this in the way He said it would be easily misinterpreted, thus protecting us from further condemning ourselves.

I love it! Hope you did too and that it hasn't freaked you out too much. If it has, just ignore this post. Comments, anyone?

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Hi Kinga, Nice to hear from you. You're mis-reading what I've said if you think I'm saying that this scripture is saying to not eat meat. It is not saying that at all. The Lord is clear that animals are for the use of man. What this scripture is pointing out, however, is that is not pleasing to the Lord to tell people they can't be vegetarians. We can please the Lord in either of two ways with this: by eating meat sparingly, or by not eating it at all. Either one is pleasing to Him. What isn't pleasing to Him is when we try to command others.
I agree. There are too many controlling people telling others what to do.
My mom is a vegetarian and she always fed us meet. She never enforced it on us.
I am grateful to my mom for being and example of not having to control how people eat.
We never give her a hard time for being a vegetarian. We just make veggie dishes for her instead.
Kinga

This is discussion was concluded a long time ago, but I wanted to add a bit about English grammar.  Excerpted from a Wikipedia article about double negatives:  

 

" In standard written English, when two negatives are used in one sentence, the negatives are understood to cancel one another and produce a weakened affirmative. However, in many dialects, the second negative is employed as an intensifier and should be understood as strengthening the negation rather than removing it."

 

So the english of the scripture could mean either thing.  

 

I think we should discover the meanings of scripture not just by analysis of words, but by using the spirit to understand and study the principles being taught.  

 

Very nice Kristen. As I read this verse and subsequent verses in context I can see two possible meanings:

  1. To the Shakers who Joseph was seeking to convert to the gospel, he may have been reassuring them that no one who forbids them to abstain from meat, which was their practice, is ordained of God. 
  2. By the same token, the Lord may also be counseling us to never forbid one another to eat meat, which the Lord has ordained for our use. 
These two choices are protected by agency and within them we discover wonderful things that can only be discovered as we make our own choices in an environment where we are 100% free to discern between our choices. We come to understand even subtle differences, such as the benefits that occur in times of cold, winter, and famine, that are achieved other ways when the sun is shining and when it is warm and fruits and veggies are plentiful. 


Kristen Wilkinson said:

This is discussion was concluded a long time ago, but I wanted to add a bit about English grammar.  Excerpted from a Wikipedia article about double negatives:  

 

" In standard written English, when two negatives are used in one sentence, the negatives are understood to cancel one another and produce a weakened affirmative. However, in many dialects, the second negative is employed as an intensifier and should be understood as strengthening the negation rather than removing it."

 

So the english of the scripture could mean either thing.  

 

I think we should discover the meanings of scripture not just by analysis of words, but by using the spirit to understand and study the principles being taught.  

 

A hen will start laying eggs around six months of age whether or not there is a rooster around. A hen is the only fowl that I know of that will just start laying on their own without being fertilized. Hmmm, makes me wonder why, if indeed the eggs weren't for the use of man.

G Conrad said:
I get it, and I like it. Thanks for continuing to teach this subject until it sunk into mi loco cabeza. I tried to do the vegetarian thing before, but my diet consisted of mostly white flour, sugar, and canned veggies. Although we ate a fare share of beans, too, it was far from healthy as were we. I love how abstaining from all animal products makes me feel, but would eat them if it was absolutely neccessary (only in famine.) Thanks again.

Hi everyone,

 

The real point of this article isn't that we should or shouldn't eat meat -- it's that D&C 49:18-21 isn't saying what everyone thinks it is.  I believe Jim's comment today hits it best.  What we're supposed to do is stop trying tell other people what they should or shouldn't eat.  The Word of Wisdom is clear that meat eaten sparingly is the Lord's suggestion, and that in times of winter, cold, and famine.

 

I've noticed that people have a big "trigger"/block about this and can't hear anyone say that it's fine to eat meat although sparingly is important for health reasons. Instead their blockade or fear or whatever it is translates this into an attack on eating meat and they immediately quote D&C 49 to justify themselves, as though they even need to -- as though the person didn't just say it's fine.

wow, that blows my mind!!!  that was the only scripture people threw in our face when we decided to cut animal protein out of our diet.  I just thought it was a big paradox...

now I see the  joke was on me  :)

Hi Linda,

 

I really appreciate what Jim pointed out that - this scripture was given when Joseph Smith was trying to help the vegetarian Shakers, saying that no one is justified in commanding them to not be vegetarian.  


Linda MacKnight said:

wow, that blows my mind!!!  that was the only scripture people threw in our face when we decided to cut animal protein out of our diet.  I just thought it was a big paradox...

now I see the  joke was on me  :)

I just watched Jim's "Meat-Glue Secrets Exposed" youtube clip.  Wow!  The link he sent out, though, only takes you to the website, so here's the link again:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ss_b-dRIOOg&playnext=1&list=...

 

This is really important.

For a correct understanding of D&C 49:18 you need to read a recently published article in Interpreter. http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/whoso-forbiddeth-to-abstain-from-m...

Kisi Watkins said:

Hi everyone,

 

The real point of this article isn't that we should or shouldn't eat meat -- it's that D&C 49:18-21 isn't saying what everyone thinks it is.  I believe Jim's comment today hits it best.  What we're supposed to do is stop trying tell other people what they should or shouldn't eat.  The Word of Wisdom is clear that meat eaten sparingly is the Lord's suggestion, and that in times of winter, cold, and famine.

 

I've noticed that people have a big "trigger"/block about this and can't hear anyone say that it's fine to eat meat although sparingly is important for health reasons. Instead their blockade or fear or whatever it is translates this into an attack on eating meat and they immediately quote D&C 49 to justify themselves, as though they even need to -- as though the person didn't just say it's fine.

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