Recently, I wrote about a study showing that alcohol consumers, on average, live longer than teetotalers. I noted Scripture versus that appear to allow (or even celebrate) the use of alcohol in moderation. And I asked whether new scientific evidence might (or should) lead to a new discussion, among conservative Christians, about the appropriateness of alcohol consumption.
I received an interesting reply today from George Wing, a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, here in Arkansas. And I wanted to share it with you.
Unlike Catholics and Protestants, the LDS church does not have a closed canon when it comes to Scriptures. Some of the Mormon Church’s holy writings are from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
And these modern writings, believed by Mormons to be divinely inspired, clearly denounce the use of alcohol. Mr. Wing argues that 1.) Scriptures condoned alcohol use in ancient days, at least in part, because clean, safe drinking water was in short supply. 2.) Now that clean water is available, the risks of alcohol outweigh the benefits. I am posting Mr. Wing’s thoughts below, with thanks.
To Bible Belt Blogger – Frank,
I have been aware for years that scientific studies show that a small quantity of alcohol may have some beneficial effects on the body. Also, be aware that before our access to clean drinking water that we have today, that it was more safe to drink wine than unpurified water in many areas of the world. The danger of contaminants was decreased by the alcohol content of wine. There are some who say that table wine of that day was not all that high in alcohol content for daily use, but I don’t claim to know.
An antipathous of the above counsel in the Old Testament could be the strict avoidance of pork in biblical times before we learned about how to treat pork to avoid trichinosis. It is not such a big deal today, physiologically speaking.
I wonder if new scripture were written today, with the ease and access to alcohol (and illegal drugs), would there be more restraint offered by a loving God in Heaven?
However, that being said, it does not take long to count up the avalanche of reasons why a person would be advised not to take one sip of alcohol, ever.
A website published by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is SOBERING! Pun intended. Check out the multiplicity of reasons why alcohol is such a formula for disaster for too many. http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa59.htm
Restraint in the use of alcohol is best done with total abstinence, in my opinion. None of us know if we, or our children, will be on the wrong end of the litany of negative statistics about the consequences of partaking of alcohol.
A loving Father in Heaven provided this counsel, “That in as much as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.”
The above is a quote from the 89th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants, one of the scriptures that we Mormons believe to be divine revelation. There is more counsel here in this section that I will share, both things that should be avoided and things that are for the use of man with thanksgiving.
As for me, my children, my grandchildren, and those I love, I have no regrets for teaching these concepts by precept and example.
The blessings abound!!! So what if I die 6 months earlier? The quality of life and the lowered risk of physical, mental, and emotional suffering is far less with abstinence based on my experience. Plus, the propensity to do stupid and sometime sinful things is reduced without behavior under the influence of alcohol.