Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Virtue of abstaining

In the LDS Church we grow up admiring Joseph Smith for his unwavering courage and astonishing moral strength because at the age of seven he declined to drink alcohol as an anesthetic before undergoing bone surgery.

But we also grow up failing to address his willingness to imbibe alcohol as and adult, including the day he was killed.

Rather than consider what this might mean about Joseph's character, let's reflect instead on what this says about LDS culture. Why can't we be honest with ourselves about Joseph Smith's behavior? Do we think that his drinking in adulthood shows a fallen man, someone who was stronger as a seven year old? Does Joseph's drinking undermine our faith in the World of Wisdom? Will admitting that he liked alcohol somehow give members the green light to start drinking? Why can't we be honest?

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