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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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Also, I'm not trying to convince anyone that one interpretation is wrong. I look and can see both interpretations making sense, and I want to be able to talk about it all clearly in case the conversation comes up in another setting.
Kisi! You have a great and interesting point. I got out my scriptures and read what you were talking about and sure enough, that scripture is phrased in rather a difficult way. Lucky for us there is a footnote...the footnote says "IE biddeth to abstain; see v. 19 and Gen. 9:3-4." In v. 19 it says "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."
So that makes it a little clearer, doesn't it? Anyone who says that the only right way is to abstain (not eat) meat, "is not ordained of God." That is one of the reasons why I was so happy to read that this website does not say that vegetarianism is the only way...If it had I would have felt bad and not gotten so excited as I have! The Lord ate fish in his mortal ministry and preaching a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle was not part of his commandments. I was also really excited when I read the part in the e-book Daniel's Challenge about the rates of cancer in lab tests according to the amount of animal based foods they eat.
I believe that! I also believe that if we limit our consumption of animal based foods we will be alright, otherwise the Word of Wisdom would say no meat at all.
Thanks for your comments and for this discussion!
Hi Susan. I appreciate your comments. I think your comment was well said. Read my other comment on the footnote, though. Almost everyone is missing what the footnote is saying. I totally agree with you, however, that we are not commanded to be either vegetarians nor meat-eaters. Both can be pleasing to the Lord.
When we like and agree with some principle, some precept, then we want it to be concrete, absolute, without exception. It's easier for us to discern things when they are completely black, or totally white.
However many, even most things in this mortal terrestrial sphere have some elements of both sides, good and bad. We need to hold as closely as we can to the white, the right, the good, the pure and true. For ALL things we must evaluate closely what is good and beneficial, and what is detrimental. We need to seek to fill our lives and minds and bodies with things, foods, thoughts, actions, that are for the most part pure, clean and wholesome. The better we do that, the better we'll be.
I also believe that some rules or commandments we've been given, have been made more absolute and less ambiguous or marginal, just so we will be better able to hold onto the right side. One speculative example might again be from the Word of Wisdom. We all know the terrible destructive results of alcohol, which is of course forbidden to drink. This is an absolute and there's no question about it.
However, one lately reads of benefits to heart health which result to those who drink red wine. The data is clear that drinking red wine in limited quantities has some significant benefits to heart health.
So, why doesn't the W of W bring this up as an exception to the no alcohol limitation? Because most mortals can't properly, spiritually discern the low levels that give benefit, from the the slightly higher levels of consumption which dull the mind and sacred spirit and cause physical degradation. The W of W therefore states clearly, unquestionably, to avoid alcohol, even though red wine can provide health benefits.
And then of course, what the general health news bulletins fail to point out, is that one can get all the same benefits through eating fresh red grapes, or drinking fresh or bottled or frozen red grape juice, or red raisans, so there is no need to drink red wine to get all the benefits lately attributed to drinking red wine.
Hi Rand, I really like what you wrote. Isn't that interesting about the fresh grapes or grape juice and raisins vs. red wine? That's just funnier than heck. Of course, they're not going to mention that!

In one of Jim Simmons' articles (I can't remember which one) and probably in his book Original Fast Foods, he explained something that The China Study people discovered, which is really amazing. We know as Mormons what the incredible benefits are from abstaining from alcohol, tobacco, tea, and coffee. What we typically don't know is that the people living in rural villages in China where they eat a predominantly plant-based diet (because they are too poor to do anything else) have a cancer rate that is 1/17th the cancer rate of Americans and 1/10th the cancer rate of Mormons! And these same rural Chinese smoke and drink like crazy! So in other words, however much benefit we get from living the "don'ts" of the Word of Wisdom, living the "do's" has a much stronger effect on our heath. Amazing, no?

What would our health be like if we did both? I think that is what Jim is trying to help us do with his work and with this website. And then we as Latter-day Saints could finally claim the blessings of the Word of Wisdom, which are escaping us as a people at present.
Yes, the thing about the grapes vs. wine is pretty funny but in a devious sort of way. Living the DOs of WOW, we set ourselves up for some pretty amazing blessings: spiritual, temporal, and physical. Personally, I've always liked strawberries and asparagus more than steak anyway.
hey y'all....hope you don't mind a newbie butting in. i have two questions. 1. is the D&C the Lord's exact words?
2. i heard it said from the pulpit that 600 people helped with the footnotes. so it's not like the foot notes are divine or prophetic, right?
I think you're right about that. Actually, although one of the general authorities was over the project, there were many people on the committee, as I understand. But the footnote actually doesn't wreck the verse, like a lot of people think. We can make this easy by looking at the fact that "bid" is the opposite of "forbid". So we can define "forbid" by saying it means to "bid to not do" (which is the same as saying "bid to abstain". Then verse 18 says: "And whoso bids someone to not abstain from eating meat, ... is not ordained of God."

What are your thoughts on it?
My personal conviction is that the D&C is indeed the Lord's exact words. As a church, we recognize it as scripture, modern-day revelation directly through the prophet, Joseph Smith, from the Lord. Since we recognize our living prophet and apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators, and they support on our current editions of the Standard Words, including the footnotes, I am inclined to consider them worth my consideration.

As it says in D&C 1:37 - 38
37. Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.
38. What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.
Interestingly, the general authority who was over the footnote project later died of cancer, but not before he stated that he was learning too late the importance of "eating meat sparingly" -- which the Lord had spoken.

What are your thoughts?
My thought is that our general authorities are as human as the rest of us. What they do and say while serving in their calling, I watch. I don't expect them to be perfect; only one of us ever was, and He paid the price for our shortcomings if we are earnestly striving to improve. Perhaps because we have such wonderful resources to help us, we can learn from the experience of a general authority who didn't, and have a better outcome. More importantly, rather than judging a good man for something that so many of us have also done, we can share what we have learned with others as we collectively improve our health!
Interesting insights, or information on the causes for lower cancer rates in some parts of the Orient. Higher comsumption of plants, and lower consumption of meats. Makes sense. And one would expect better heart health as well, though I've not searched to find?
However, a preponderance of paper writers, and perhaps researchers, attribute these health benefits instead to phyto chemicals in green tea, which is consummed in high quantities, perhaps 8 cups daily, in traditional rural Chinese and other Oriental community homes.
That hypothesis that green tea is a significant health protection/improvement factor, would at first view, seem to be contrary to the W of W. But again, we need to go back to the original statement, and understand what is given to us, what we are told or guided to do, and not do.
The W of W originally advises to avoid consumption of hot drinks. This general, broad statement given > 150 yrs ago, requires interpretation and understanding within the context of our developing scientific knowledge of nutrition, biochemistry, and physiology. Through the inspired input from general authorities, we were to come to understand that the problem was not in the temperature or 'hot' part of the drink, but rather with the effects on our minds and bodies from the caffeine which the 'hot drinks coffee and tea contained.
On cold winter days or nights, many church activities include serving hot chocolate or hot apple juice as a warming beverage. In our homes we often serve hot soup broth. It's not the 'Hot' that is really the problem, nor the prohibition. The problem was found to be the caffeine with coffee and tea. Caffeine excites the nervous system and speeds our metabolism.
While billions of people in the world want and seek and use caffeine, there are several health detriments from its consumption, which I'll not go into now.
So, to clarify and make understanding and compliance more clear and defined, rather than avoiding all hot drinks, we have come to understand we are not to drink coffee or tea. And many also understand we are to avoid cola or other caffeinated drinks. But that all gets once again into the details of intrpreting and following the spirit of the W of W, or just strictly following the letter of the law as we understand or interprete it.
Caffeine contents of some beverages can be compared, although assimilation impacts are an additional critical factor to include in understanding and decision making. First, be aware that caffeine contents of beverages and plant materials can vary significantly with the environmental conditions in which they are grown. And commercially produced soft drinks can have enormous variation from brand to brand on how much of an ingredient is in the soft drink. The following are the generallized caffeine content of a cup of each of the following beverages.

Coffee 80 mg
Cola drinks 45 mg
Black tea 40 mg
Green tea 20 mg
Hot chocolate 15 mg
White tea 12 mg
Herbal tea 0 mg

Clearly there is a lot of caffeine in the first three. And while most of us drink hot chocolate on a cold day or night, we do not generally feel a strong caffeine 'buzz' from so doing, nor do we generally feel we have violated a moral principle in drinking hot chocolate. That leaves green tea at equal or slightly greater in caffeine than hot chocolate.
However, because green tea also contains the catechin theanine, caffeine effects are counteracted and little if any stimulation actually occurs. A drinker will get more caffene stimulation from hot chocolate, than from green tea. [*Note however that catechins only function if the green tea is hot. If one drinks iced tea, the catechins do not bind the caffeine, so one will get a caffeine stimulation from drinking iced tea ]
You can remove most of the caffeine on your own with a very simple process. All you have to do is steep the tea for 45 seconds in hot water and then pour off the liquid. Next, add more hot water and steep as you normally would to brew a cup of that tea. Up to 80 percent of the caffeine is released in the first infusion of water so only minimal amounts will remain when you add water the second time. This method eliminates very little of the tea's flavor and aroma, and it provides the health benefits of green tea, with essentially none of the caffeine. .

Catechin (Pronunciation: /ˈka-tə-ˌkin/) is a polyphenolic antioxidant plant secondary metabolite. The termr catechins is also commonly used to refer to the related family of flavonoids and the subgroup flavan-3-ols (or simply flavanols).
Catechin - Catechin is a tannin peculiar to green tea because the black tea fermentation process reduces catechins in black tea. Catechin is a powerful, water soluable polyphenol and antioxidant that is easily oxidized.
Research aimed at finding the active compounds in green tea revealed that its protective effects are due chiefly to catechins.
Green tea contains four main catechin substances: EC, ECg, EGC and EGCg, all of which are inclusively called catechin. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the most powerful of these catechins. EGCG as an antioxidant is about 25-100 times more potent than vitamins C and E. One cup of green tea provides 10-40 mg of polyphenols and has antioxidant effects greater than a serving of broccoli, spinach, carrots, or strawberries. The high antioxidant activity of green tea makes it beneficial for protecting the body from oxidative damage due to free radicals. Research shows that green tea may help the arterial wall by reducing lipids. Green tea can protect against experimentally induced DNA damage, and slow or halt the initiation and progression of undesirable cell colonies. Studies show evidence that green tea provides immunoprotective qualities, particularly in the case of patients undergoing radiation or chemotherapy. White blood cell count appear to be maintained more effectively in patients consuming green tea compared to non-supplemented patients.
Green tea is manufactured from fresh, unfermented tea leaves; the oxidation of catechins is minimal, and hence they are able to serve as antioxidants. Researchers believe that catechin is effective because it easily sticks to proteins, blocking bacteria from adhering to cell walls and disrupting their ability to destroy them. Viruses have ‘hooks’ on their surfaces and can attach to cell walls. The catechin in green tea prevents viruses from adhering and causing harm. Catechin reacts with toxins created by harmful bacteria (many of which belong to the protein family) and harmful metals such as lead, mercury, chrome, and cadmium.
Tannin in green tea is mostly catechin and is a key component in its taste providing the astringency. The amount of catechin tends to increase as the season progresses. Spring tea (first crop) contains 12-13% catechin (13-17% as tannin) while summer tea (third crop) contains 13-14% (17-21% as tannin). If leaf order is compared, younger leaves include more catechin than mature ones. First leaves contain 14%, second 13%, third 12%, and fourth 12%. This explains why second and third crop summer teas are more astringent while Bancha is less so. Gyokuro green tea, whose leaves are covered during growth, contains less catechin and astringency (10% as tannin) because it gets less sunshine then Sencha.

Health Benefit:
Catechin, has been found to outperform Vitamin C and beta-carotene ten times in scavenging the alkyl peroxyl radical. One study found green tea polyphenols to be more potent antioxidants than Vitamin C, Vitamin E, rosemary extract, and even curcumin in some systems.
According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, in laboratory studies using animals, catechins scavenged oxidants before cell damage occurred, reduced the number and size of tumors, and inhibited the growth of cancer cells. White tea is said to be even more effective. However, human studies have proven more contradictory, perhaps due to such factors as variances in diet, environments, and populations. Below is a list of benefits:
- Eliminates free radicals preventing cancer development by blocking the growth of substance that causes cancer. This also arrests aging.
- Connects with cholesterol, absorbs and blocks it
- Decreases cholesterol level in blood and prevents bad cholesterol caused by oxidation, which prevents narrowing of blood vessel caused by the build-up of bad cholesterol
- Prevents arterial sclerosis, thrombosis, heart attacks and brain strokes.
- Effective for high blood pressure.
- Blocks a function of enzyme that digests and absorbs sugar and prevents diabetes.
- Suppresses aggregation of platelets and prevents thrombosis such as heart attacks and brain strokes.
- Fights bacteria and viruses and prevents influenza, food poisoning and cavities including: O-157, Dysentery, Cholera, Mouth bacteria that can damage teeth, gums, and lead to periodontal disease, Piccoli, which causes gastric ulcers.
- Improves conditions of intestines by blocking growth of bad bacteria and enhancing good bacteria like bifid bacteria. This regulates the function of intestines.
- Connects with substances (breath, fish, meat, human waste, etc.) and prevents odor.
- Detoxifies by connecting with poisonous substance and harmful heavy metals (lead, chrome, mercury, cadmium, etc.) and dissolves it.
- Changes harmful ultraviolet rays into non-harmful light in a plant to protect it.
- Gargling with green tea is believed to be an effective way to protect oneself from influenza because of tea’s anti-viral functions.

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