Okay, so anyone who's anyone who's read D&C, knows about section 49. Especially verse 18:
18 And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God.
At the beginning of the year, I was teaching Gospel Doctrine in a single's ward here in Utah. The lesson one week...was on the Word of Wisdom. And I had the audacity to bring up this verse shortly and interpret it to say, "Those who don't eat meat, are not of God." I still want to kick myself for saying that. Gratefully, one of the classmembers, who is also my roommate, raised her hand to say, "I think what it means is that we shouldn't tell others how to eat or condemn them," which I did agree with.
But, it goes beyond that. And as an English major, copywriter, and copyeditor...I should have known better. We're going to kind of take this apart here:
What does it mean to "Forbid?" According to the dictionary, it means "to order somebody NOT to do something."
What does it mean to "Abstain?" Again, according to the dictionary, it means to "refrain from something."
Let's read the verse a little differently this time...
18 And whoso orders someone NOT to refrain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God.
Whomever tells someone NOT to go without meat. People who tell you NOT to abstain. Hmm...that sure is a lot different than my carnal mind used to believe. Isn't it? :) Hopefully the next time a member uses that verse against you, you might feel a little more empowered to calmly smile at them and know that what you're doing...is right.