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Friday, November 18, 2005 

What might have been...

I need to apologize for getting this up late. I am in Philadelphia at the moment and I am doing this instead of writing the paper I am presenting tomorrow. So, if this seems rushed, it is.

Commandments that we no longer keep. There are a couple of different ways to take this topic. First of all, there are commandments that we no longer keep as a church. Plural marriage would be one, the full law of consecration would be another. Why don't we keep them? Well, I could say that God told us that we shouldn't and leave it at that. But, it seems to me, that the temporal nature of these commandments lend them to intermittent application. The earthly aspects of life may only be controllable for brief periods. Our bodies may get in the way.

Another way of looking at the topic is to discuss commandments that I no longer keep. I used to think that it was bad to drink Coke. I don't anymore (and I drink it when available). Why did I change? Was it merely for the convienience of a sugary drink? Why did I once think that cola diligence was important and how did I come to disregard it? I don't have a ready answer for these questions and it is troubling. One part of me just says that it is one more thing that I have to keep track of and that, if there is no commandment against it, why bother? But do I really make decisions regarding keeping commandments based on personal convienience? Somehow, that doesn't seem like the way to do things. Maybe I object to modern Pharisaism, however that too seems like a less than ideal motivation for giving up the cola ban. I don't think rebellion for its own sake is particularly laudable.

Truth be told, the changing status of commandments in the church is something that I have a hard time wrapping my head around. I know that President Joseph Fielding Smith asked us to use the right hand in passing the sacrament, but I also know that this isn't considered a commandment now. Why? I don't know. In any case, I appreciate it when I am wrestling with my boy and the bread comes down the aisle.

So can I really have my mocha flavored ice cream from Cold Stone now? (my wife nearly made me sleep on the couch when I tried a teaspoon of that flavor)

For myself, I usually start keeping (or not) a commandment for a specific reason justified in my head for that specific commandment. None of the reasons for one (necessarily) works for another. Coffee flavored things, even with real coffee, are ok when you don't drind it right? The command is against "hot drinks" right?

FWIW: there is something to be said about doing things for the sake of the weakest of saints. My wife really does have a very hard time with me any time I have a caffeinated beverage, actually, even when I have a non-caffeinated Coke from the CougarEat. She has a fabulous testimony but really does have a hard time with this.

I guess it all depends on your weakness or dependence on a particular item. I think that a person who regularly drinks coffee would harm himself more as opposed to a person who takes an occasional sip of wine....that's pretty common sense, don't you think? I don't know.

If there was a choice between occasionally drinking wine or regulary consumming copious amounts of coke, I think the Lord would just rather have us drink the wine although maybe in the eyes of the Church we'd be screwed out of a temple recommend.

I hope I'm making sense here.

"Truth be told, the changing status of commandments in the church is something that I have a hard time wrapping my head around."

It can be tough, I agree. Apparently though, it was not unanticipated.

"With regard to the Bible we frequently say, we believe the Bible, but circumstances alter cases, for what is now required for the people may not be required of a people that may live a hundred years hence... There are many duties, and callings spoken of in the scriptures, and there are many not written, those for instance which are handed out to you by your President as circumstances require. Those imposed by the President of the Church of God, or by the president of any portion of it, are duties as necessary to be observed as though they were written in the Bible; but these requirements, duties, callings etc. change with the circumstances that surround the people of God."

-Brigham Young, The Essential Brigham Young, p.89

Good luck with your presentation.

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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