I stumbled across this article tonight and I absolutely fell in love with it. I keep finding more and more members of the church who have taken up the yoke and admitted that they are now..."vegetarian" or "vegan." It's kind of like those really cool instances that you have when you're traveling to a different state (I've grown up in Utah my whole life so practically everyone I knew was LDS), and you run into someone else who's a member and you're like, "Whoa! It's so cool to meet you! I feel like I know everything about you, man!"
Reading this article was kind of like that moment:)
If you have a chance to read the whole article, you really should. Part of me wonders that if given the chance to speak on the Word of Wisdom in church if I would talk about my own dietary "testimony." The scared part of me worries that the same thing would happen to me...as happened to the author (and sometimes inactive), Brett Wilcox. Long story short, he was asked to speak on the WOW in Sacrament Meeting.
So he did. And the tension was palpable. In Priesthood meeting, one of the brethren got so offended that he actually walked out.
Why is that? Why is food, and what we eat, so tightly entwined in our self-worth, or self-view, that when someone attempts to spell out (the obvious) a different light, we not only fight it like crazy, but we actually treat them like they're antagonistic anti-Mormons?
Now, I'll admit, I've been very blessed to not have any of those extreme reactions. In fact, probably 97% of the people that I share my "foodimony" with, receive it in one of three ways:
1. They want to know more (these are rare...probably 1 out of 30)
2. They find the topic interesting and worth considering (these are a larger percentage...probably 10 of 30)
3. They smile, give me a figurative pat on the back and say, "That's good for you. There's no way I could ever do that!" (The Majority)
But, I will also admit that I kind of used to be that offended member. I always felt I ate healthy. When my roommate told me she was going vegetarian for a while, I bit my tongue. I was a #3. Only in my mind I was saying, "Good for you. You obviously don't understand the scriptures, but good for you."
I roll my eyes at myself now.
Looking back, I can't really remember why. All I can really pin it on . . . was that I felt I'd been taught that the WOW taught otherwise. Therefore, it was tied to my religious belief. So, I held on tighter. It was only after I told my brother on his mission that my parents ate "weird" and forcing myself to keep my mouth shut and not argue with them when they'd bring things up, that the real truth (that I'd eventually see) was slowly cracking away at my hard exterior.
I want to quote a portion of the article I read, just to end my thought reel. Over Mr. Wilcox's vegan journey he felt he learned 4 important spiritual truths:
1. Our personal and collective food choices impact each other. The Earth has limited water, soil, air, trees, animals, etc. Meat production consumes, pollutes, and destroys huge amounts of the Earth's resources. A plant-based diet is good for my fellow creations, for the Earth, and for me.
2. Life is sacred. When I consider the Great Creator, it is easy for me hear the words, "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." (Joseph Smith Translation, Gen. 9:9-11.) READ THE JST TRANSLATION
3. Human beings are by nature and design plant eaters. Our bodies resemble the bodies of plant-eating animals, not meat-eating animals. Eating meat is a learned behavior. Our children grow accustomed to the practice before they even know that the meat on their plates comes from dead animals.
4. According to the Word of Wisdom, God is pleased when we abstain from meat. I want to please God.
Next month, the Activity Days girls want to learn about the Word of Wisdom and make a healthy meal (ahem, I'll be giving them a Plant-Based Recipe). I've debated with sharing my thoughts on the WOW with them.
But since they aren't MY kids, we'll read the scriptures. They'll be in tune enough with the spirit to come to their own conclusions :)