Sunday, January 28, 2007

Meat - To eat or not to eat, that is the question?

There is more on this subject wihin scripture than I think most realise. Also the Scriptures are more interlinked than seems to be appreciated. The Old Testament law is discarded in the usual conversation of this subject, and reference is made to some interpretation of the New Testament to do this. But is this accurate?

D&C 49:18 states that whoever forbids a person from abstaining from meat (that man shouldn't eat it) is not ordained of God. A clear statement that God, firstly, regards it possible (at least) to be vegetarian. This, secondly, makes it obvious that he is not opposed to it at all. So why even bother mentioning it? It is fairly heavy in its way. He is saying a person commanding against vegetarianism is not from him.

D&c 89 contains the obvious statements. But how many examine them relative to past instruction? Note verses 14 and 15, "...and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth; And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger." So does this mean we can eat domesticated pigs but not wild ones? As we domesticate dogs and cats can we eat them, also? God gave instruction of what he was talking about long ago. He had Moses write it down. No pigs, dogs, cats, camels, shark, dolphins, squid, octopus, crabs, crayfish, mussels, oisters, eagles, ants, cockroaches and so on. Because the Israelites of the time were so spiritually backward he made it a commandment, so at least some would follow it.
Have you questioned yourself as to why God would ask such a thing? It is because the meat of these things is worse than the meat of the other animals. Isn't that plain?

Now God has made it a request, not a commandment. But don't the scriptures tell us that it is a slothful and not a wise servant that needs to be commanded in all things (D&C 58:26). In regard meat he has said that it is pleasing to him that it shouldn't be eaten, unless it is cold or there is a famine.

As personal advice from personal inspiration let me advise anyone wishing to stop eating meat that they should break off it slowly. Quit all the really bad stuff mentioned above immediately. Then break off red meats, and just eat fish and chicken. Then break off the chicken. Then off the fish eventually. This should be done over a couple of years.


Anonymous said...

Actually, if you look at the footnote of that scripture in the D&C, you will see the following:
18a IE biddeth to abstain, see v. 19.
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.

Also, Gen. 9: 3-4.
3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

Also, I think it's simply wrong to look at the Law of Moses for a guide on dietary law. That law passed away with Christ; it was fulfilled; it was a law for its time.

From Pres. Packer:
[L]earn to use moderation and common sense in matters of health and nutrition, and particularly in medication. Avoid being extreme or fanatical or becoming a faddist.

For example, the Word of Wisdom counsels us to eat meat sparingly (see D&C 89:12). Lest someone become extreme, we are told in another revelation that “whoso forbiddeth to [eat meat] is not ordained of God” (D&C 49:18).

(Boyd K. Packer, “The Word of Wisdom: The Principle and the Promises,” Ensign, May 1996, 17)

I don't know why that verse is phrased the way it is, but the interpretation is opposite that which you present here. I don't think it's necessrily a sin to not eat meat, but I don't think it's a higher law to abstain from it, either. :)

Anonymous said...

p.s. This was a footnote to Pres. Packer's clarifications about that verse:

1. The context for verse 18 is verse 19: “For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air … [are] ordained for the use of man for food.” Section 49 was specifically directed to members of the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing (the Shakers) to correct some of their erroneous doctrines. One of their beliefs was not to eat flesh-meat or fish.

Doug Towers said...


In regard D&C 49:18. I would have to accept your argument. After all the next verse starts with, "For behold". So it seems a reasonably logical way of reading it. I'll have to return to my opinion that Joseph Smith just didn't state verse 18 correctly. Thanks for that point.

In regard the Law of Moses. I believe the law is never nonexistent. Christ came to fulfill the law, not to destroy it. It can only be of no effect when all are perfectly living the gospel of Christ. Only if we are "in" Christ does it have an end to us.

Nextly, the question arises for every law, why did God make such a law? Every law has a purpose. So why did God command not to eat pigs? I have been informed from several sources that pigs have far more diseases than other food animals, such as sheep and cows. And I've heard bad stats on some of the other things God mentioned.

In regard D&C 49:18 and it presenting that we shouldn't command people to not eat meat. The word of wisdom's statement that God would prefer we didn't eat it except in times of cold or famine, is not a commandment. D&C 89:2 states "..not by commandment or constraint..". While parts of this section have been re-evaluated and made into commandments of their own, the meat bit still remains advice. And I only propose this idea as that which God has expressed that he would like us to live.

In regard the quotes of us being able to eat everything. That is true. But I'd advise you don't take that too literally or you'd be dead very quickly. There are endless poisonous substances out there. I would see it that God is giving us advice on some of the less obvious bad foods.

m&m said...

hmmmm...I think I disagree with your statement about the Law of Moses. Don't get me wrong -- I'm actually not much of a meat eater myself and we hardly touch pork, but it's not because I look to the law of Moses for guidance. I don't, at all. There is just way too much about that law that makes no sense to our gospel living.

The whole famine and winter thing seems like it might be somewhat applicable to the times in which it was given...when there was no refrigeration to speak of, when protein helped them stay warm, etc. That said, I think anyone would agree that eating lighter in the summer just FEELS better.

Incidentally, if pork were really that bad, I have a hard time believing we could get it at the Church canneries. :)

m&m said...

p.s. on the law of Moses...people missed Christ because they kept wanting to look to that law. I really see nothing in our teachings that would indicate that we are somehow supposed to look to that law for guidance, except to look to Christ. That was the whole purpose of the law anyway.

Doug Towers said...


It seems to me that God has laid low on the meat issue. The tobacco thing has been made into a commandment. Drinking hot drinks seems to have been forgotten, with an emphasis on only not drinking tea and coffee, having replaced it. And alcohol has become banned. Consequently I see D&C 89 as having been watered down as well as so many other commandments. This isn't a reflection on any leadership, of course.

I think (and it's purely an opinion) that having meat in winter could relate to the fat content, for keeping warm. But you mention about protein keeping them warm. That protein keeps people warm, is that something you've learnt?

In regard to the law and its strange ways. In spite of how little we may understand God's purpose in certain of those laws, they do all have a point. And Christ told some of those he healed to go and show themselves unto the priest as a testimony of their cleansing (as the law demanded), yet he told others to just go and sin no more. His teachings to some were the gospel, while to others he taught the law. If the end of the law really related to the time Christ came, surely he should have been consistent. And the question also arises as to why it wasn't lived before Moses? I believe the law is never ended as such. It is only at an end to those in Christ.

The Scriptures, to me, pose a lot of opposition to the idea of making absolute times for laws. And saying that is all there is to it.

m&m said...

I'm not sure I understand your last comment, but I guess I wonder what the point would be, if we are seeking to follow Christ and His gospel, of looking back?

As to meat, maybe it IS the fat. :) I am often not good on details like this, so that's something I'd be interested in. I believe, though, that proteins take more energy to digest.

A few more tidbits to pass on...FWIW:

Elder John A. Widstoe noted that when this revelation was given, many people believed that meat should be the only article of diet when available. He interpreted the phrase not to refer to meat in general, but as a warning not to use meat as the sole food source except to prevent starvation. Elder Widstoe wrote:

"Meats have the power to sustain life for a time if nothing else is eaten, provided that the blood and internal organs--heart, kidneys, liver and brains--are eaten. Under such conditions, the proteins which normally are body builders are burned and used as energy producers. It is clear therefore that in times of famine there could be no objection to using meat as the only article of diet." (The Word of Wisdom: A Modern Interpretation, p.217)

Elder Mark E. Peterson taught:

"There are those in the world who teach that no meat at all should be included in the human diet. The Lord does not take this position. As is shown from this revelation he gave us the flesh of beasts and of fowl for food, but that they were to be used sparingly.

It will be remembered what Paul the Apostle said about those who forbid the use of meats:

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy: having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." ( l Timothy 4:1-5)
(compiled at (Here is also a quote by Pres. Kimball about how the quantity of meat can and will vary from person to person. Like I said, we actually don't eat a lot of meat in our house, but I wouldn't feel right about a veggie diet only. :)

Doug Towers said...


How do you find these relevant quotes so quickly? Do you have "the encyclopedia of relevant quotes" under your pillow?

In regard l Timothy 4:1-5. The word "meats" used there refers to foods that were banned under the law of Moses (according to Strong's Concordance - which won't fit under my pillow). This also included foods offered to idols. What Paul appears to me to be stating is that where the law demanded that certain things could never be eaten, even if you were starving to death, the gospel frees a person to eat. It is declaring that nothing is spiritually unclean. This declaration doesn't change God's opinion on what is better to eat, however.

In regard the quotes. I don't oppose the concept that meat CAN be eaten. I just support the Scriptures that it is pleasing unto God that it shouldn't be eaten, except in times of winter and famine. He has declared meat to be there to eat, as everything else. It is just about BETTER things to eat.

In regard the Law of Moses and its relevance. There is more to be gained from the law than many realise, in my opinion. I see all sorts of important doctrines in gaining an understanding of God, and what we will have to understand when we are Gods. It helps us understand how to run a government with certain types of people. It is jam packed with valuable information, from my view. And all of it has purpose. The gospel fulfills it. But that is the key to a great mystery (an Alma 12:9 one). Therefore I would suggest not ignoring that strange old law. :)

m&m said...

Hmmmm....interestings points of view. I think the most meaningful point of this whole discussion is that there isn't ONE right way to approach this issue. This is one of those places, I think, where we have our agency to make choices that feel right to us. I think Pres. Kimball had an interesting point (relatedt to our individuality) and because of that, I suspect that it is quite possible that, in a group of 100 people, there will probably be different feelings about this topic, even based on individual revelation. And all might be legitimate. (It's sort of like the commandment to multiply and replenish; it's there, it's real, but the specifics of how that is implemented are personal and subject to personal revelation -- which specifics received by revelation can't be generalized to anyone else because the answer for one might not be the answer for another.)

Doug Towers said...


I have to agree that this is a personal type thing. As Christ said, what we take into us can't make us morally unclean. And as your family isn't into eating much meat, how much value would there be in change. I still eat some chicken and fish, which helps me to fit in when going to someone's place to dine.

In regard multiplying. I am confused that you could believe in the eternity of families, but believe that anything living can be formed without parents. I believe that families are forever. Absolutely and completely. Families, to me, are an eternal principle.

m&m said...

Oh dear. Big misunderstanding. I meant specifics about the number of children, or how they are spaced. :) (I say this as someone who wants more but can't for health reasons.)

Doug Towers said...


I had just come from the Blogger of Jared, having written in regard God's command to Adam and Eve. And being aware that some feel that God doesn't have children in the normal way, I had taken your statement incorrectly.

Our language!

I'm sorry to hear of your situation. Fortunately eternity is a long time for you to fulfill all of your expectations and more. I wish you well.

m&m said...

Fortunately eternity is a long time for you to fulfill all of your expectations and more.

Sweet is the peace the gospel brings!