Sunday, June 30, 2013

How Being a Mormon Helped Me Become a Vegetarian

In September 2003 I was baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I had always been curious about the church and when I moved to Florida and got an apartment it turned out my neighbor was a member. At my request he introduced me to some other members and I was offered a Book of Mormon and missionary discussions, both of which I accepted. The more I learned the more I knew the church and gospel were true and I made the decision to be baptized.

There were a few things I had to give up. In our Doctrine and Covenants (revelations given to the prophet, Joseph Smith, part of our standard works of scripture) we have the Word of Wisdom, which sets forth guidelines on what we should eat and what we cannot partake of in order to live righteously and be spiritually clean.

This is what I had to give up and my thoughts...

1. Alcohol -- I already was no longer drinking alcoholic beverages due to the anxiety medication I was on so this was fairly easy for me. I admit that sometimes I miss having a glass of wine, especially with an Italian meal, but I do not miss having impaired judgment and hangovers.

2. Coffee and Tea -- these are not allowed because of the tanic acid and other addictive properties. I LOVED coffee so this was quite a challenge, but I did it. I also like iced tea. Herbal tea is allowed because it does not have the stimulants found in black and other teas, so that helped. Recently I have discovered Dandy Blend which is a wonderful natural substitute for coffee (before that I found Cafix and Roma, which are also great natural coffee substitutes)

Fast forward almost 10 years and I decided to give up meat, poultry, fish, then dairy and eggs. I knew this was going to be hard. I wondered if I could do it. Then I remembered that I had to give up some stuff that I loved in order to become a member of the LDS church and I knew I could do it. It would not be the first time I made a major lifestyle change and having done it before helped me to do it again.

I also found inspiration in the scriptures, particularly in the Word of Wisdom. you see, it does not only tell you the things you cannot have, it also sets forth guidelines of what is good for you. Here are some verses and my interpretation of them

Verse 12 -13 state..
"12 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;

13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine."

I took from this that meat should only be eaten in extreme circumstances. It also could be preserved for winter so when fruits and grains and produce were not readily available the meat was. Today we have access to fruits and veggies all year long as well as certain supplements (like B-12 and Vitamin D) so we do not need meat at all.

Verse 14
"14 All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;"

and verse 16
"16 All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground—"

We are encouraged to eat grains and fruits and vegetables -- anything that grows and is from the earth.

Then comes the promise if we follow these guidelines

verses 18-21
"18 And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;

19 And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;

20 And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.

21 And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.'"

Healthy and strong bodies and clear minds :)

This really gave me comfort and peace knowing I had made the right decision for myself. I also had prayed about as I do with any major decisions.

It is never easy to make lifestyle changes, but having the inspiration from the scriptures and knowledge that I have done it before and can continue to make the changes needed to live a healthy and thoughtful life is a blessing.

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