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Mormons and Meat

http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/89

When I am grateful for my food, I will eat prudently, and likely less, than if I’m just mindlessly eating. With gratitude, I recognize that my life has been sustained through the grace of God, and will not be inclined to be wasteful.

Especially in terms of meat, gratitude means I fully, consciously understand that another living thing has ended it’s life so I may continue mine.

To quote Kahlil Gibran:

When you kill a beast, say to him in your heart:
By the same power that slays you, I too am slain, and I too shall be consumed.
For the law that delivers you into my hand shall deliver me into a mightier hand.
Your blood and my blood is naught but the sap that feeds the tree of heaven.

For most Americans there is inherently something spiritually corrosive about our eating of most things, but particularly meat. I believe we want to imagine subconsciously that the tidy, lean, plastic-covered protein packets came from a wholesome chicken tree. Most of us say, “I could never do that” when considering slaughtering our own livestock for meat, yet by not even witnessing any routine harvesting of animals ourselves, we are able avoid the truth about the sacrifice of life that we required, albeit one that is ordained for us. It is a life we are justified in taking with prudence and gratitude if we need it to save our own. If we are cold, hungry, and plants are not in season to eat. Can we be fully grateful without really thinking of the sacrifice of another living thing?

Michael Pollan:
More than any other institution, the American industrial animal farm offers a nightmarish glimpse of what capitalism can look like in the absence of moral or regulatory constraint. Here in these places life itself is redefined—as protein production—and with it suffering. That venerable word becomes “stress,” an economic problem in search of a cost-effective solution . . . . The industrialization–and dehumanization–of American animal farming is a relatively new, evitable, and local phenomenon: no other country raises and slaughters its food animals quite as intensively or as brutally as we do.”

How does that align with our view of animals as fellow spiritual and physical creations of our same Heavenly Father? A proverb observed that “a righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” (Prov. 12:10.)

In March 1831, it was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that though vegetarianism was not to be enforced as a doctrine for mankind, men were still responsible for their killing of animals.
“And whoso forbiddeth to [says you may not] abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God;
“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.
“And wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need.” (D&C 49:18–19, 21.) (Emphasis added, full article is great reading: source)

From the same article:

During the Zion’s Camp expedition in the summer of 1834, an incident occurred that allowed a practical application of concern for animal life. As related by the Prophet Joseph Smith in his history:
“In pitching my tent we found three massasaugas or prairie rattlesnakes, which the brethren were about to kill, but I said, ‘Let them alone—don’t hurt them! How will the serpent ever lose his venom, while the servants of God possess the same disposition, and continue to make war upon it? Men must become harmless, before the brute creation; and when men lose their vicious dispositions and cease to destroy the animal race, the lion and the lamb can dwell together, and the sucking child can play with the serpent in safety.’ The brethren took the serpents carefully on sticks and carried them across the creek. I exhorted the brethren not to kill a serpent, bird, or an animal of any kind during our journey unless it became necessary in order to preserve ourselves from hunger.” (Documentary History of the Church, vol. 2, pp. 71–72.)

Brigham Young said:

The more purity that exists, the less is the strife; the more kind we are to our animals, the more will peace increase, and the savage nature of the brute creation will vanish away.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 203.)

Same article as above:

“… The unnecessary destruction of life is a distinct spiritual loss to the human
family. Men cannot worship the Creator and look with careless indifference upon
his creations. The love of all life helps man to the enjoyment of a better life.
It exalts the spiritual nature of those in need of divine favor. “Every moving
thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. … And surely, blood shall not be shed, only for meat, to save your lives; and the blood of every beast will I require at your hands.” (JST, Gen. 9:9–11.)

Just because we cannot see the source of what we eat in our Taco Bell taco, and what happened during the life and death of that animal, does not mean we are not accountable and spiritually effected.

To eat meat to save our lives in cold, winter or famine with prudence and thanksgiving means that we ensure that the animal was treated as every creation of God deserves to be treated, even if ordained for our use.

This seems almost impossible in our time, but we don’t need to allow the status quo of inhumanity in our own consumption. We can find humane sources and pay the higher prices that go along with it, we can find creative sources and means to eat meat in accorance with this law, and we can choose not to participate and condone the lack of prudence and thanksgiving by not supporting with our money those who take part in it.

Mormons are not asked to be vegetarian unless there is no way to eat meat in the authorized way: with prudence, thanksgiving, without waste or extortion, sparingly, and preferably only in winter or famine.

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Time to Eat: Word of Wisdom

http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/89

PLANTS: All are good for us in season, must be used with prudence and thanks.

  • All wholesome herbs (plants) are to be eaten in season are ordained for “the constitution, nature, and use of man” “to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.”
  • The fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground, is good for the fruit of man.
  • All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life. It is “good for the food of man.”

FLESH: Beasts of field may be used sparingly, preferably only in times of winter/cold/famine.

  • Flesh of beasts (of the field) and fowls of the air “ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving” “to be used sparingly. It pleases the Lord if they are not used except “in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.”
  • Wild animals that run or creep on the earth are “for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.”

Good reading: http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=728c1f26d596b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

THOUGHTS/NOTES

The “Staff” scriptural references imply that this staff of life is what separates us from famine and death. When the “staff” of bread is broken by the Lord, the people will hunger. To be the staff of life means that it will stave off hunger. In a practical sense, fruits and vegetables are nutrient-dense plants but do not hold off hunger for long, whereas whole-grain bread does. It does not necessarily mean that it is the bulk of our diet, but the core of our diet–the energy that keeps us going (yay, carbs!).

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More on conspiring men

What kinds of conspiring men are a risk to our “temporal salvation?” My ideas:

  1. We all know the tobacco companies have known for years the damage their products do, they work to increase it’s addictive properties, and as the market in the US decreases, they move to the underage markets overseas, where business is booming! Conspiring men don’t care who they hurt.
  2. Alcohol producers know their product is addictive and dangerous and, with the possible exception of red wine (which benefits can also be reaped from plain old grape juice), has absolutely no health benefit. They advertise responsibility, meanwhile they advertise heavily to youth and market more and more youth-oriented products in kiddie packaging. Conspiring men pretend to be socially responsible while undermining social fabric.
  3. Coffee is big business and big money. It’s addictive, it has significant negative health impacts, everyone knows it. The coffee industry pays for studies to show that the hundreds of chemicals shown to be dangerous in coffee, aside from the drug itself, surely aren’t as important as some random research they were able to find (and fund) showing that it decreases the risk of type-2 diabetes, Parkinsons and colon cancer. Conspiring men take a product they know is dangerous, and fund and publicize the few benefits it has in an attempt to mislead the public to keep marketshare.
  4. Fast-food chains and junk-food producers know that MSG is an addictive flavor enhancer. They probably also know that it is linked to obesity in over 120 studies, and that the younger a child is exposed to it the more likely they will be obese in later life. They likely also know it can have negative reactions in almost every major physiological system in more then a quarter of the population. But, addiction means money, which is why food that would otherwise taste like cardboard makes us keep going under those golden arches to the drivethru. MSG is in almost every savory processed and fast food, from canned soup to Doritos to the biggest culprit, KFC. (Sweet foods use a similarly effective combination of unregulated chemicals called “natural flavors”). Smart marketers use flavor enhancers, but conspiring men use addictive chemicals to keep the money flowing.
  5. Why are the over 2000 chemicals banned in the European union with no deleterious effect on their economy, yet they are no problem for the US EPA an FDA to allow in our air, water, and food? Because money talks here in the US, and strangely, these departments are led by the ex-execs of the companies they are supposed to oversee and regulate (and protect the public from). On the FDA MSG-safety study alone, 4 of the 8 panelists had direct conflicts of interest. They also notoriously rubber-stamp favorable research conducted by the industries themselves. Using cheap chemicals for short-term benefit is good business, but conspiring men know they are potentially dangerous and continue to use them to avoid the cost of change.
  6. One word: Montesano
  7. The USDA was originally established to help protect and promote the beef industry, not protect the public, and they still hold true to their mission. They recently have lowered the standard of what “organic” means to include several chemicals in order to appease the agri-business lobby, and they allow (and help to conceal) the standard US beef-packing industry, which happens to be the most systematically inhumane and abusive slaughtering practices known in the civilized world. Conspiring men use secretiveness and extort (force) the natural system into an unnatural state for gain.

Conspiring men protect their wealth, power and fight change that would cost them money even if it meant a clear benefit to the public. I’m sure there are many others, but these I list as they relate directly to our physical health. The more I learn about the food supply, the more I understand the Word of Wisdom and why the prophet says to plant a garden.

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Service vs. Energy

A speaker in sacrament meeting today had a short and unorthodox list on what would make us more able to serve Christ. 1) study and pray daily 2) follow the word of wisdom 3) exercise daily. Her point? We need energy to serve. If we don’t feel like we have the energy, we are obligated to do all in our power to rectify that.

How often do I say I don’t have the energy to do the “best” thing on the “good-better-best” spectrum, yet I don’t follow the basic commandments that would give me that energy? How silly to refuse to put gas into my tank and complain that I can’t go anywhere.

I decided it was time for a serious, verse-by-verse look at the word of wisdom, because it’s promises are key blessings I need more than ever:

  1. Temporal salvation of all the saints in the last days (v2). Temporal can mean a) my physical health will be spared (internal), b) that I will be saved from outside harm (external), and/or c) financial self-sufficiency, that I will have what I need to sustain my temporal well-being.
  2. Health in their navel and marrow to their bones (v18). Many of the cross references here to “health” are promises that those who put the Lord first will have strength and energy.
  3. Shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures (v19). Care of and respect for our physical bodies (temples) is apparently linked to our ability to receive spiritual revelation.
  4. Shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint (v20). More of that sought-after energy.
  5. A promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. (v21). The destroying angel of Israel was a specific, instant plague. This can mean protection from a future, similar destroying angel or sickness, or many of them, as we know that plagues of disease and pestilence are signs of the last days. It can also simply mean that we will be spared from sickness and premature death.

Both because I want to serve all I can, I must make the needed changes to increase the my physical and mental ability to serve. Especially in these confusing last days, I sincerely desire to have understanding (wisdom and treasures of knowledge) about what is happening around me in the world, in the Kingdom, and on my eternal path. Finally, I also truly want the physical protection for my family that these blessings promise.

I have long suspected it, but I’m starting to think the devil really does have an interest in tempting me to make poor food choices.

Better choices = more energy and clarity = more able to serve.

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