Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are well versed in the Word of Wisdom, the admonition in Doctrine and Covenants 89 which lays out the Lord’s law of health to the Church; however, the vast majority of members of the Church do nothing to implement the Word of Wisdom’s admonition to eat meat sparingly, and only in times of winter, or of cold, or of famine.

Despite the clarification from Church leaders on caffeinated soft drinks, many members of the church would raise an eyebrow to someone bringing Dr. Pepper to the church pot luck, but it is likely that no one would think twice about the barbecued hamburgers.

Two years ago I decided to take significant strides toward improved health and fitness.  I started that effort by carefully reading Doctrine and Covenants 89 and seeing what I could do to more perfectly follow the commandment.  Verses 12 and 13 stood out to me.  Though I had read them many times before, I had never actually made even the slightest effort to implement them.

The following is the result of my study on Doctrine and Covenants 89’s admonition to eat meat sparingly.  It contains my best efforts to understand the doctrine of the church, but I fully admit that most of it is based on my own assumptions and current understanding.  To understand the doctrine for yourself, you need to seek out the ultimate source of knowledge.

What Doctrine and Covenants 89 Actually Says

“Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly; And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.”  Doctrine and Covenants 89: 12 and 13

A plain reading of the text makes any interpretation other than “Don’t eat meat unless it is winter or famine, and even then, do so sparingly” difficult to justify.  Any reasonable reader would understand that to be the plain meaning.

But sometimes things are less obvious than they seem.  I’m an attorney (non-practicing), so I know something about twisting other people’s words (that’s a joke… sort of).

The Comma and the 1920 Edition of the Word of Wisdom

Like I said, sometimes things aren’t as obvious as they may seem.  In the original text of the Word of Wisdom, there is no comma between the words “used” and “only.”  Here is a copy of the original text (highlighting the area of interest) that covers two pages in the original manuscript.


Can you see how two, entirely opposite, interpretations can come from the text depending on how this is read?  With the comma, it reads “It is pleasing unto me that they should not be used ONLY in times of winter or of cold or of famine.”  Which would seem to say we should be eating meat all the time–not only in those conditions.

But without the comma, which is how the manuscript originally reads and how it was written in every edition of the Doctrine and Covenants up to the 1920 edition, it reads “It is pleasing unto me that they should NOT be used–only in times of winter, or of cold, or of famine.”

Two opposite interpretations–all hinging upon a single comma.  So why was the comma added? As even a cursory study of the manuscripts of the Doctrine and Covenants will reveal, the documents were written when grammar, spelling, punctuation, and other writing fundamentals were still being standardized, and they were written by fallible men who did not possess perfect abilities to communicate the revelation that Joseph Smith received.

I personally believe the comma is the correct way for the revelation to be written, and that according to our modernized literary forms, it is the grammatically correct version.  Without it, the preceding verse makes little sense.  Birch, A. Jane, “Questioning the Comma in Verse 13 of the Word of Wisdom” (2014). All Faculty Publications. Paper 1402.

The Plot Thickens…

Whenever I have taken occasion to converse with other members of the church about this topic to try and learn more, many of them have pointed me to Doctrine and Covenants 49:18, the revelation Joseph Smith received for Leman Copley, a former Shaker.

Before we read the verse, it is significant to look at the context of the verses before, which contain instructions to not forbid others to marry.

The verse in question says, “And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God.”  This, at first, seems to be an outright contradiction to the admonition in Doctrine and Covenants 89 to only eat meat in times of winter, or of cold, or of famine, and even then it should be done sparingly.

This is where the plot thickens.

The verse is somewhat opaque, because of its odd use of the word “forbiddeth” and also the double negative in the sentence.  Adding to the confusion, look at the footnote for this verse for the word “forbiddeth” and you’ll see the footnote says, “biddeth.”  These words are often confused, but are opposites.  “I forbid you to attend church” means the exact opposite of “I bid you to attend church.”  When Jacob finished his portion of the Book of Mormon, surely he did not mean “I FORBID you adieu.”  Source: Jim Catano.

Leaving the contradiction aside, we can read the actual text more carefully and uncover a possible explanation for the contradiction between 89 and 49.  The verse says only that people should not teach others, or forbid others to not eat meat.”

It would seem to me that this verse admonishes those who teach others not to eat meat, because the Lord has ordained meat for the use of man.

What Are the Church Leaders Saying Today?

When you search “eat meat sparingly” on, only TWO such admonitions are found in any general conference.  TWO!

The first mention is from Ezra Taft Benson in 1983: “In this revelation the Lord counsels us to use meat sparingly. I have often felt that the Lord is further counseling us in this revelation against indiscriminately killing animals, for He has said elsewhere in scripture, ‘Wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need.” (D&C 49:21.)’

President Benson seems to play down the health benefit and suggest that the commandment may have a deeper root in the protection of life.

President Packer said in a 1996 conference report: “…the Word of Wisdom counsels us to eat meat sparingly. Lest someone become extreme, we are told in another revelation that “whoso forbiddeth to [eat meat] is not ordained of God.”

Historical Insight from Early Church Leaders

In law, after a plain reading of a law is done and then the text is examined in greater detail, outside information can then be referenced to try and understand what was intended to be written.   Here is further information from early church leaders…

  • “…it is pleasing saith the Lord that flesh be used only in times of winter, or of famine’-and why to be used in famine? because all domesticated animals would naturally die, and may as well be made use of by man…”  Hyrum Smith, “The Word of Wisdom.”  Times and Seasons volume 3. 1 June 1842.
  • Then-Apostle Lorenzo Snow “introduced the subject of the Word of Wisdom, expressing the opinion that it was violated as much or more in the improper use of meat as in other things, and thought the time was near at hand when the Latter-day Saints should be taught to refrain from meat eating and the shedding of animal blood.” (Journal History, 11 March 1897 p. 2)
    Elder Snow “was convinced that the killing of animals when unnecessary was wrong and sinful, and that it was not right to neglect one part of the Word of Wisdom and be too strenuous in regard to other parts.” (Journal History, 5 May 1893, pp. 2-3)
  • Elder Joseph F. Merrill “When protein is taken in great excess of the body’s need, as is usually the case in the diet of Americans, added work is given the liver and kidneys, the circulation is over-stimulated and the “factor of safety” of these organs is exceeded”
  • President Heber J. Grant stated, “I think that another reason I have very splendid strength for an old man is that during the years we have had a cafeteria… I have not, with exception of not more than a dozen times, ordered meat of any kind. …I have endeavored to live the Word of Wisdom and that, in my opinion, is one reason for my good health.” (Conference Report, April 1937, p. 15)
  • John A. Widtsoe wrote in a book on the Word of Wisdom, “If one uses meat it must be used sparingly and in winter or famine only…. They who wish to be well and gain the promised reward stated in the Word of Wisdom must obey all of the law, not just part of it as suits their whim or their appetite, or their notion of its meaning.” (The Word of Wisdom, a Modern Interpretation, 1950)
  • President Joseph Fielding Smith’s wife, Jesse Evans Smith, said, “my husband doesn’t eat meat” and he felt a “disdain of meat and (a) love of vegetables.” (Brigham Young University Daily Universe, May 6, 1971, p. 1)
  • Elder Benson obviously felt some frustration about how well Americans do in their eating habits because he once observed, “To a significant degree, we are an overfed and undernourished nation digging an early grave with our teeth, and lacking the energy that could be ours…. We need a generation of young people who, as Daniel, eat in a more healthy manner than to fare on the ‘kings meat’ —and whose countenances show it.” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson pp. 476-7)
  • 49:18 is actually a warning to those who would prohibit others from abstaining from eating flesh rather than a condemnation of those who do abstain.
  • There is understandable reason for honest confusion on this point. First, there is an error in a footnote in the present edition of the LDS scriptures.  “I bid you to come to my house” is the exact opposite of “I forbid you to come to my house.” The inaccurate footnote prompts us to incorrectly believe that the person who asks another to abstain from meats is not ordained of God. However, the original scripture (which was published for 148 years without that footnote) teaches that he who forbids others to abstain from meats is the one who is not ordained of God. Furthermore, if forbid really meant bid it would alter 49:15 to also condemn “whoso ‘biddeth’ to marry.”  Source: Jim Catano
  • In this revelation the Lord counsels us to use meat sparingly. I have often felt that the Lord is further counseling us in this revelation against indiscriminately killing animals, for He has said elsewhere in scripture, “Wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need.” (D&C 49:21.)  “A principle with a promise” Ezra Taft Benson. May 1983.


I have a tendency to sometimes be a little too pharisaical in my discipleship.  President Packer’s conference quote saying that it would be too extreme to refrain from eating meat entirely is instructive to me.

The counsel of the living prophets is most important.  I believe they are in communication with our Heavenly Father and that He will guide us when the church gets off course.  It is tough to argue with the fact that this clearly is not a point of emphasis in the church right now.  That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care about the scripture, but that we need to be careful about becoming too extreme on a fringe issue.

It appears to me that the Lord’s commandment to eat sparingly may be rooted more deeply in the preservation of animals than in health, and is included in Doctrine and Covenants 89 as it is part of the decisions to be made about what foods to eat.  For me personally, I strive to eat meat with restraint but do not go so extreme as to refrain from eating meat.

Obviously, this is a personal choice and this blog post should not in any way be considered representative of the church’s counsel on the topic, but I hope by writing these articles that those who would like to further develop their gospel scholarship will be pointed to resources they can study to make good decisions and grow closer to Heavenly Father.


  1. Whatever we eat, we would be wise to provide our bodies with the things they need to get energy and repair themselves. Meat has some of these things. If we choose not to eat meat (and it IS a choice to us) we should observe to get from other sources what nutrition we might otherwise have got from meat.

  2. This article was well reasoned and extremely helpful to me. I am a convert who has always been confused as to why this portion of the word of wisdom hasn’t been a bigger topic of conversation in the church. As more and more scientific research reveals the unquestioned benefits of a plant based diet, it would make sense to me that we would want to shine a light on this extremely prescient revelation to Joseph in 1830.
    I have eaten meat my entire life and just recently decided to cut way back after a little convincing from the documentary “What the health?”. Even if half of the evidence put forth in that film is true (the referenced litany of studies seem to hold water), it would still clearly support Joseph’s warning from so long ago.
    I do understand why a prominent focus is placed on alcohol and tobacco – the downstream negative cultural and economic impacts are unquestioned and immense. That said, I’ve often struggled with the hypocrisy of judgment and condemnation of those who choose to consume those substances coming from people who gorge themselves on Big Macs and T-bone steaks. The economic burden of preventable diabetes, heart disease and cancers are likewise detrimental to our society. You can’t selectively adhere to scripture, it just doesn’t work. Especially within the same passage of revelation.
    Whether for health or compassionate reasons ( shouldn’t really matter either way) this passage should not be so blatantly ignored or at best marginalized simply because ‘sparingly’ can mean different things to different people. If we’re being honest, it’s a very straightforward piece of scripture to interpret, while remaining an extremely difficult one to obey.

  3. A very interesting article!
    Maybe one of the reasons D&C sec 49:18 is confusing to some people is the descriptive paragraph at the beginning of the section. In scriptures published before 1978 it says, \”…Sanctity of marriage as a law of God unto man–Complete abstinence from meat not required…\” Since 1978 it says, \”Marriage is ordained of God…Eating of meat is approved.\”
    Also of interest is the pre-1978 heading for sec 89, \”… Abstinence from wine, strong drink, tobacco and hot drinks enjoined–Moderation in the eating of meat-…\” as opposed to the one we use now, \”…Herbs, fruits, flesh, and grain are ordained for the use of man…\” Judging by these, meat eating appears to be more approved of now. Why is this? Our factory farms and slaughter houses are not more humane now. Nor have humans evolved into carnivores.

  4. I’ve been studying this topic quite a bit lately and over the past couple years I have made some health related changes that include eating more “fruits of the vine” (I don’t think The Lord differentiates between fruits and vegetables) and I’ve felt much better and have been far more healthy. Recently, I’m recognizing the dangers of meat to our body and this has allowed me to recognize better what The Lord stated in the revelation.
    Along with this revelation I think we need to keep in mind this revelation in section 58:
    “26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

    27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

    28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.

    29 But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.”

    If we require The Lord or his servants to always command us in all things rather than seeking to act for ourselves to do good we are not being wise or profitable.

  5. I have enjoyed the comments on this site.
    I used to eat burgers, fries and Cokes all the time. Also, I would buy expensive cuts of meat. Eating at quality restaurants, I would order a Dr Pepper or Coke. The waiter would refill my glass often, and I probably drank at least 24 to 40 oz of the carbonated drinks + tons of sugar!
    Years later, I changed my eating habits and lost about 30 pounds of ugly FAT. I live the Word of Wisdom and feel great!
    Veggies and quality fruits give me a new lease on life, together with drinking pure water. I am almost 80 and feel like a man in his 30’s.
    The Lord loves each of us and wants the best for us, including intelligent choices on our part. I wish you the best, also.

  6. It should be considered that the word, “meat” in it’s original form meant food in general and not just meat as we define it by animal flesh in our modern day.

    To be used in winter, cold famine implies a time of necessity. God is not literally saying it’s a good time to eat meat in winter when it’s cold outside. He is saying that meat is available to be used in extreme conditions.

    After all my research and knowing that in the coming day when the lion eats straw like the ox and there is officially no more shedding of blood, it encourages me to strive for that day now. We are commanded to progress ourselves and live for the coming day.

  7. There’s a beautiful YouTube video called “Return to Sparingly” which show some of these quotes with LDS music in the background.

    I stumbled across some info which took me by surprise. The Church went into the cattle ranching business during mid 1900s. This is about the time leaders stopped speaking about eating meat sparingly. The Church established themselves as the largest, privately-owned, for-profit ranchers in the United States. And for one year at the end of the 90s (‘97?), they were the largest privately-owned for-profit ranchers in the world. It’s hard to teach about not eating animals when you’re in the business of eating animals.

    I have a hard time believing that Heavenly Father judges coffee drinkers are too-unclean to be in his house but brutalizing and murdering his innocent creatures he created to feel pain and fear is perfectly okay.

    imo, any church leader who eats animals has no business judging others during a TR interview over whether or not the member drinks coffee or tea with breakfast, a glass of wine with dinner or smokes a cigarette.

  8. Thank you for this article. I was writing an article for my blog about mycoprotein and wanted to find the two references in the D&C that you quote.

    It has been clear to me for a long, long time that members of the Church ignore this essential part of the Word of Wisdom. I was not aware of the change of headings (thank you, Millie) or of the Church’s cattle ranching (thank you, Gina), I think we need to remember that the First Presidency entrusts others with many tasks and does not oversee every detail. They couldn’t, obviously.

    I am also in mind of D&C 112: 25 “And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord.” I think anyone who perverts the word of the Lord for their own ends will find themselves on the receiving end.

  9. I think a possible explanation for the churches meat farms is that there are going to be serious famines and plagues in the days before the second coming so calorie dense foods will be important and meat is calorie dense, hence it’s approved even by the strictest reading of these scriptures for times of famine and cold.

    That said, eating meat often is clearly not what God would prefer for his children.

  10. I find it interesting that in any discussion of the wisdom of eating meat with reference to section 89 in the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 15 is rarely if ever referred to.
    Even in church published materials, this verse is not referenced. And I have never heard a general authority refer to it, either.
    What does verse 15 say, and why is something the Lord purposely chose to include in His word… so often overlooked?
    I can only answer the first question.
    Section 89:15 – \”And these (it appears the word \”these\” refers to beasts of the field, fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth) hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.\”
    It seems to me in verse 15 the Lord is telling us ( I am a convert who grew up on a farm in Texas eating large quantities of meat)… not to eat meat.
    However, He says nothing about eating fish and we know from the scriptures that Jesus ate fish and called fishermen to be apostles. And I am a sport fisherman.
    In conclusion, with the many priceless blessings the Lord promises in verses 18 thru 21 to those who obey the Word of Wisdom, as much as I enjoy eating meat I feel it would be unwise for me to do so.
    However, I freely admit that I feel better physically when I do eat meat, and this verse has been a trial for me. Especially in light of the fact that I am 66 years old and seeking to preserve my health and take care of my family.
    I hope this helps someone and if you have information to share or feel I am in error, then please let me know.

    1. Freeman, I have also found it odd that we seem to ignore this verse.

      My best estimate is that perhaps there is a reason it isn’t discussed today. Maybe that really was something important for Joseph Smith’s time, but does not apply today. When reading the Doctrine and Covenants, it can be hard to know what was intended for them, and what was intended for all time.

    2. I read it the same Freeman.
      Fish are acceptable based on the fact they are not mentioned.
      Another thing I see is, fowels of the HEAVEN. This does not include Chicken or Turkey, both of which cannot soar and are earth bound.

  11. The verse in question says, “And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God.”
    I read this as saying, “Practice what you preach,” or you are not ordained by God.

  12. If you look for comments from Presidents of the Church, you’ll find that they advocated either not eating meat at all, or eating sparingly. In another D&C section (49? 57?) the Lord says we will be held accountable for every life we take. I read that as “don’t take a life unless it’s necessary”. And fish IS meat, btw. Meat is flesh, and fish is flesh and a living thing whose blood we shed. If there is famine or extreme cold so that I need flesh to survive, I think the Lord says I’m justified in using animals for food.
    Some of the nitpicking I see on here is incredible. Chickens and turkeys are not “fowls of the heaven” because they don’t fly? Have you ever lived on a farm? Chickens will roost high in a tree, as will turkeys and other fowl.

    My own thought is that God gave us our bodies and what will keep them healthy and nourished does not change. “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven…” Those laws don’t change. Our attitudes do and we seek to justify leaving those laws behind, and then we wonder why we can’t walk and not be weary. The Word of Wisdom is a health law. It is telling us how to stay healthy, and above all, how to stay clear enough to hear the Spirit’s whispers in our ears. Instead of finding ways to get around the WoW, why not try living it entirely for a time and see if your health changes?

  13. An excellent article. I have had a similar journey of discovery as others have listed above. Admittedly, it took some science and studies to wake me up to what D&C 89 says. I watched \”Forks Over Knives,\” read \”How Not to Die\” and \”The China Study\” and then I thought \”Lightbulb! The Word of Wisdom has said this all along! And Daniel rejecting the king\’s meat in favor of pulse and seeds!\” I was eating mostly plant-based and discussing these things with my roommates at BYU. One day, reading the Book of Mormon, I called over my roommates and said, \”Guys! Alma was a vegetarian!!!\” They said, \”What, why?\” I said, \”Alma 8:21-22. Amulek \’brought forth bread and meat and set before Alma…And it came to pass that Alma ate BREAD and was filled.\’ He didn\’t eat the meat!!\” I say this in joking; I don\’t feel that is actually a fair conclusion from that scripture.
    The promises at the end of D&C 89 are beautiful. It is easy to see how avoiding tobacco and alcohol would allow the \”destroying angel\” to pass by you like the children of Israel. I am convinced that if we observed the meat-related portion of the Word of Wisdom more strictly, we would as a people be spared even further destruction: diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc. But I am also wary of assigning blame; sometimes even the people with the healthiest habits are struck down, Job style. We can\’t judge.
    I was pondering about this issue a while ago, trying to understand if I was off-base to seek a low meat diet, when it hasn\’t been clearly talked about as a priority by the brethren in recent years. I was led to Elder Bednar\’s talk about Principles from 2021. In it, he talks about how the Lord and his servants \”Teach us correct principles and let us govern ourselves,\” and specifically cited the Word of Wisdom. So they haven\’t recently specifically emphasized avoiding meat. In my opinion, if they did so, given the current cultural climate of the world and church membership, it might create more division and evil than the meat eating itself. I was teaching a class of seminary students a while ago and we read the scripture about enmity of all flesh ceasing during the millenium. A student asked, \”Does this mean we will be vegetarian during the millenium?\” I said, \”I don\’t know for certain, but as far as I understand it, I think so!\” Some students said, \”I would go to hell before I would give up meat!\” I know they were just teenagers being funny, but I think a lot of people actually feel that way. There are some really strong feelings about diet, and meat in particular.
    Just because the prophets aren\’t spelling it out specifically doesn\’t mean it isn\’t true, either. The Prophet also declined to outline grooming standards recently, saying, when you let God prevail in your life, \”You know how you ought to groom yourself.\” When he said those words, I knew in my heart I needed to shave. Not that my neighbor needed to shave, or that it is wrong to have a beard, (it\’s not), I just knew that I personally needed to shave my beard, for what it was communicating to myself and others. Perhaps the Word of Wisdom is similar; those who are ready to hear the message of plant-based eating will be benefitted with blessings of health. Those who aren\’t ready to hear it, let them live what they ARE ready for, and God Bless them for it! Those who live in a third world country where they only get two meals a day and need meat to thrive, God has ordained meat for their use.
    For the record, I try to avoid meat as much as I can, but I do still eat it. I had chicken last night. I find that if I aim to eat meat sparingly, the social pressures around lead me to eat it a LOT. If I aim to eat meat pretty much not at all, I end up eating it sparingly.

  14. It should be pointed out that there is now a good body of dietary epidemiology studies that link the eating of too much meat, or of processed meat, as detrimental to good health. A good summary is found in the video \”Forks over Knives.\”

  15. Humans were made with the ability to eat meat, however, our bodies thrive best on a plant-based diet, while only consuming meat sparingly, if at all. There is a strong association between eating meat liberally, and the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Although chronic disease prevention and treatment strategies have improved over the years, diagnoses appear to be rising.

    During most of our evolutionary history, we were largely vegetarian. Plant foods, such as yams, made up the bulk of our ancestors’ diet. The addition of modest amounts of meat to the early human diet came with the discovery of fire, which allowed early humans to eat meat and survive in a variety of areas and during periods in which plant foods were unavailable or scarce.

    It is interesting to note that carnivorous animals in the wild virtually NEVER develop heart disease or suffer from strokes or cancer—ailments that humans can develop an increased risk due to their overconsumption of saturated fat, cholesterol, and carcinogenic compounds found in meat. Carnivorous animals don’t have the same type of risk factors as humans do when we eat meat liberally.

    Eating Meat Sparingly Prevents Cardiovascular Disease:

    Choline and carnitine, nutrients in red meat and eggs, particularly affect cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Microbes in your gut break down these nutrients, generating TMAO (trimethylamine-N-oxide). High levels of TMAO in your blood increase your risk of hardened arteries, heart attack and stroke.

    Eating Meat Sparingly Prevents Type 2 Diabetes:

    Research has shown that limiting meat intake can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and give people who have diabetes more control over their blood sugar levels.

    While vegetarian and vegan diets are higher in carbohydrates than those that include more animal protein, studies have found that after adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet, glycemic control often improves, and in many cases, patients can decrease or discontinue their diabetes medication.

    The high sodium content, nitrite, and nitrate content found in processed meats can damage blood vessels and increase the chances of type 2 diabetes, And higher heme iron content found in meat may damage pancreatic cells with its oxidative capacities. Eating meat sparingly can prevent these risks.

    Eating Meat Sparingly May Significantly Help Reduce Your Risk of Cancer:

    Eating red and processed meats, such as bacon, hot dogs, and other smoked or cured meats, including deli meat, has been associated with a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer as well as breast cancer.

    Several studies indicate that high poultry consumption, particularly during adolescence, may increase the risk of thyroid cancer. Prostate cancer progression may also be affected by the consumption of poultry.

    Why does overconsuming meat have such a strong impact on cancer risk? Some researchers have suggested that the amount of saturated fat found in meat, as well as the carcinogenic compounds produced when grilling meat or cooking it at high temperatures play a key role.

    Plant foods, on the other hand, appear to have a protective effect against all cancers. A variety of chemicals from plants known as phytochemicals seem to protect cells from harmful compounds in food and in the environment, as well as prevent cell damage and mutations.

    A study including more than 77,000 adults found that vegetarian diets, and diets of those who ate meat sparingly, were linked to a lower incidence of colorectal cancer, compared with nonvegetarian diets.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most Americans get plenty of protein without paying special attention to what they eat. We’re actually more likely to consume too much protein, resulting in nutritional deficiencies or insufficient fiber which puts us at higher risk for chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

    Olfert MD, Wattick RA. Vegetarian Diets and the Risk of Diabetes. Curr Diab Rep. 2018;18(11):101. Published 2018 Sep 18. doi:10.1007/s11892-018-1070-9.

  16. I’ve been a convert to the church for 42 years. I come from a culture that eats meat almost everyday and didn’t have gastrointestinal problems then. I’ve adapted the culture of eating meat sparingly and more grains and vegetables. For a few years now my weight has been increasing slowly and no diet has helped. After being diagnosed with a gastric desease and behaving like a pre diabetic, I’ve come to realize that not every metabolism behaves the same.
    The only diet that’s worked in helping me with SIBO has been a carnivore diet. Vegetables would ferment and make life impossible. Grains and high carb vegetables raise glucose levels which then raises insulin, and we could easily become insulin resistant. There’re too many sweets eaten at church functions in my opinion. Only a low carb diet high in protein and fats can help reverse insulin resistance. Our society eats far too many carbs and not enough animal protein, complete wholesome protein. Not hamburgers, not hotdogs, not fried chicken. Grass fed whole animal protein. My body is healing slowly and gaining the strength it needs after the two years of illness trying to eat a plant base diet. My hormones are getting balanced and for now I’ll eat what works for my body. I’ll follow the spirit and try to do my best but if it comes packaged, bagged or canned I won’t eat it. Wholesome food is what we were meant to eat.

    1. It would be interesting if the Word of Wisdom were to be updated to reflect more specifically on the current dietary struggles people face. I imagine it would suggest eating white flours, sugar and sweets sparingly.

  17. Thanks for writing this article. It is very insightful.
    I have been vegan for over nine years. I went vegan due to a severe health condition I accrued in my mid-twenties. It has been the best decision of my life and has made all the difference.

    To take your topic a little further, Look at the evolution of food consumption depicted in the bible. Adam and Eve were instructed to eat only nuts, herbs, and fruits with seeds, like cucumbers, apples, cantaloupes, watermelons, etc. Consider this, Adam and Eve were banished from the garden of Eden because they ate something they ought not to have eaten. After their banishment, grains were introduced into the diet as they were cursed to labor over the fields of their crops. It was sometime later that we saw that meat was permitted to have been eaten, and It came with very clear instructions as to what meats and how to prepare them for consumption. Nowadays, many who eat meat do not even give it any consideration. No further instruction has been given.

    There has been a misnomer of information around health. (too much motivation around profits) I have found that the essence of life is proper mineralization of the body found through herbs and eating, as Adam and Eve did in the garden of Eden, to be the best dietary fit for me. This and fasting.

  18. I have been a member all my life. I also have eaten meat on a regular basis as many in the church do. I thought that alcohol, tea and coffee we the evils that were talked about in verse 4 of Doctrine and covenants 89. I was terribly sick for the past 20 years. I had many autoimmune diseases including diabetes. I was so sick I couldn\’t walk around the block. As I prayed I was lead to Dr. Brooke Goldner. She is a Dr, Jewish, Who healed herself from lupus by nothing but diet changes. I met with her and she taught me so much. The problem with eating meats and dairy is they are rich in saturated fats. Eating a constant diet from them results in heart disease, stomach cancer, fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes to name as few. This has been proved through research and studies. Fat is a sticky substance. After you cook a meal with meat your pan is left with a coating of greasy film. It takes hot water and dish detergent to break this up. We do not have that kind of luxury to pour dish soap down our mouths following eating this. so I went on this life changing diet of plant based and guess what? My energy returned!! I am mountain biking. My A1C is 4.8, no more diabetes. I lost almost 50 pounds. I feel so good I could fly.
    One thing our writer forgot to mention is that the Lord didn\’t just admonish us once not to eat meat but in times of winter , cold or famine. But He did it twice in 89!! Read verses 14 and 15. The Lord made is unmistakably clear repeating it twice that he wants us to eat it only in those times. In verse 4 He said He has warned us and forewarned us that in the latter-days we will need this revelation. I am so saddened as I visit ward after ward through out the west and see so many latter-day saints that our obese. Our bodies are temples. As latter-day saints we should be a peculiar people. Our diets should be clean and full of life giving foods that make us strong not sick. So many saints are sick. Please if anyone reads this and would like to know more I will share with anyone. It has changed my life and given me such physical strength. Satan does not want you and I to have good health, but God does! Why did the Lord say in times of winter and cold. Because in 1833 when this revelation was given to Joseph Smith, there were no refrigerators or grocery stores to purchase produce as we do today. Food was scare in those cold months. Lets replace meat in our ward dinners with better choices!!! Lets be a church that has a healthy members!

  19. I think the subject can be understood from a variety of different angles. First, God loves animals but knows that meat is a healthy choice (Lehi‘s people , the Jaredites, and temple priests in Jerusalem ate meat). (“Science” does not conclude that meat is unhealthy. Only epidemiology studies are being cited for health risks of eating meat. But correlation does not conclude causation. There is no meat “causation” research that shows meat causes cancer or heart disease. This requires multiple controlled trials and there are none.) Second, meat was not on the list to abstain from, like: hot drinks, tobacco, and liquor. Third, it was originally given not as a commandment. Later, the emphasis was definitely on the abstain-from items. Church welfare provides beef from Spanish Fork cannery, it owns cattle ranches, etc. Fourth, what about wheat and celiacs disease or gluten intolerance? I have an oxalate intolerance and I am quite limited on what I can eat from plants (I’m down to juice, apples, and grapes). I guess I am in a famine or I’m on the Lehi-in-the-wilderness diet, because I eat meat, raw milk, honey and some fruit. So, let the persecution begin, ha ha.

    1. Hi eating meat is not a healthy thing. Animal products are rich in saturated fats which can cause heart disease, stomach cancer, fatty liver disease and now they have linked it to type 2 diabetes. This is because fat from these are sticky. They stick in the pan we cook them in. We have to use fish soap and hot water. They stick inside us. God told noah not to eat the flesh or blood of Animals. God had Adam name each and every Animal. This was so Adam felt a stewardship for them to love and care for them. God not only gave us verse 13 but repeated it in 15 to drive home the point he only wants to eat it in times when food is scarce. We do ourselves a great inservice by choosing to follow mans ways when it comes to our law of health. Our bodies are temples. We as latter day saints have become over weight and sick. We should be the examples to follow of great health because we have this word of wisdom.

  20. What is true (that we know of) is that no matter the diet, no diet includes living past 80-120. Period.

    It seems that its HOW you die that this food logic applies to, even in part. Genetics doom you to the rest, and is it fair to be subject to genetics? That does not seem like agency but tyranny.
    Everyone deserves a clean genetic slate to either foul up or keep pristine. Thats my opinion.

    Anyway: Its like this;
    1. Die at 80 of pancreatic cancer, suffering terribly in a hospital bed, pumped full of drugs for months or weeks because you smoked, drank and ate unhealthy.


    2. Died in your sleep at the same age with minimal pain and discomfort.

    Those two example’s I have known personally in life. One related one not.

    This is anecdotal evidence of course but its interesting to say the least.

  21. How about verse 17 clearly allowing beer?
    “and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain.”

      1. In Korea, they drink 보리차 “Bori Cha” which means Barley Tea. This is their traditional drink that they serve instead of water. It’s definitely a mild drink made from Barley.

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