Monday, March 3, 2014

Not For the Belly

A Response to Your Questions
The number-one reaction to our "Meet the Lemmes" page so far has been: "WHY don't you drink alcohol, coffee or tea?"  First of all, we love the questions!  Keep 'em coming!  Our hope was for this blog to be an interactive tool, so we're off to a great start!  Secondly, we would love to publicly answer your questions because this blog is also designed to share just about everything that makes us who we are!  "Ye are the light of the world.  A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16)."
Heceta Head Lighthouse - Oregon Coast
The Question
We've received a variety of questions centering roughly around the same topic.  Here's a synopsis of the concerns we've gathered so far: Why don't you drink alcohol, coffee or tea?  Research shows that a glass of wine a day is good for your heart, tea has been shown to fight cancer, and coffee is full of antioxidants and correlated with lower instances of heart disease and strokes.  In moderation, they can be good for you, so why cut them out completely?

The Short Answer
Our decision to not consume these beverages is a personal conviction we've adopted after careful prayer and study.  It is also a commandment that God revealed to Joseph Smith as a part of what we refer to as the Word of Wisdom (D&C 89.)  We have been promised that we will be blessed temporally and spiritually for obedience to the gospel laws contained therein.  Our decision has less to do with whether or not we think these drinks are good or bad for our bodies, and more to do with obedience.  God has asked us not to put certain things in our bodies, so we don't.  It's that simple.

We strive to be as faithful as Adam was, "And He gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord.  And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.  And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord?  And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me (Moses 5:5-6)."  Whether or not we understand why God asks us to do certain things, we strive to trust in Him and be obedient.

The Long Answer
We're definitely not the first ones to bring these questions to God!

The most common reaction we get to the "because we want to be obedient" explanation is: "So, you're just blindly obedient?"  Well, no.  It's not blind obedience because it is something we have studied carefully and asked God about through prayer.  We had a choice and exercised our own agency.  God teaches us to seek truth for ourselves: "But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right (D&C 9:8)."  Simply put, we don't just believe everything we read or hear.  We've read and studied as much as we could on the topic, and thought about it, made a decision and asked God if it is right for us to practice this belief.  Our decisions are a result of personal testimony.

The revealed Word of Wisdom itself is a result of personal testimony.  Though, it was revealed to a prophet with stewardship over all the members of God's restored church, so it has become scripture, namely Doctrine & Covenants chapter 89.

Joseph & Emma's Story
In 1833, Joseph Smith began to hold meetings for new members of the church.  During these meetings, the men in the room would smoke and chew tobacco while discussing gospel topics.  Joseph's wife Emma had the unfortunate chore of scrubbing the stains off the floor from the spit.  She expressed her concern to Joseph, so Joseph asked God in prayer.  God answered his prayer, and we can read the answer Joseph received in D&C 89, the chapter now commonly referred to as the Word of Wisdom.  It contains answers about tobacco and a variety of other health concerns.  In verses 5-7, God reveals that it is not good to drink wine or "strong drink," and in verse eight He teaches us that "hot drinks" are not for the body or the belly.  He also speaks of eating healthy in consuming fruits, veges and grains. (Church History: Joseph & Emma's story about the Word of Wisdom.)
Fruit for Cranberry Confetti
A Blessed Decision
Rob and I have also received a personal testimony of the truthfulness of the "Word of Wisdom" due partially to the great blessings we've seen follow our decision.  In D&C 89:18-21, God promises that we will receive blessings for our obedience to the Word of Wisdom.  We will be blessed with health and wisdom.  Our choice to be obedient has surely added to our overall physical health and even kept us out of a lot of potential trouble.  Even with the Word of Wisdom aside, I personally am so grateful that I have avoided these drinks.  It is something I would choose to keep doing even if it was no longer a commandment.  Because I made a decision to never drink Coffee, Tea or Alcohol, I have never had to face problems like caffeine dependence or consequences of poor judgement under the influence of alcohol.  I don't need four cups of coffee to start my day, and I won't feel ill when I haven't had a cup in a while.  I never wake up with a hangover, or have to worry about what embarrassing things I might have done last night while I was drunk.  I understand that these consequences are often a result of substance abuse, so why not just drink in moderation?  I personally find peace in the fact that if I never take the first sip, I will never find myself in a place where I am tempted to over-indulge.  Though I don't judge others choices, I personally am thankful that I have made these decisions ahead of time so I never have to worry about the negative consequences that may follow.

This is one of the many reasons Rob and I strongly believe in setting family values and standards.  "It has been said that when the time to perform arrives, the time to prepare has passed (Elder William H. Bennett, Ensign May 1975)."  Setting values and standards ahead of time allows us to be ready and prepared with our response when we are faced with a decision or temptation.  We have already decided to never drink alcohol, coffee or tea, so if we ever find ourselves faced with a decision, our choice has already been made.  "No, thanks."  It's that easy.  We don't even have to think about it, and we leave no room for temptation.

My Body is a Temple
We believe that the soul is made up of two parts: the spirit and the body (D&C 88:15.)  If we neglect to take care of our bodies, we are damaging a part of our soul.  Our bodies are a beautiful gift from God, and He has asked us to take care of them.  We do our very best to treat our bodies like a temple.  When we keep our bodies clean and pure, it becomes a place where the spirit may dwell.  This is why we have chosen to be obedient to the Word of Wisdom.  This means we also avoid harmful substances and addictions such as smoking, prescription drug abuse, products with excessive levels of caffeine, pornography and other potentially harmful practices.  We watch movies and listen to music that is uplifting and choose to dwell in places where the spirit may be present.  We strive to be clean and pure.
Provo, UT LDS Temple
The Bottom Line
To make a long story short, the simplest reason we have decided not to drink alcohol, coffee or tea, is to draw nearer to our Father in Heaven and become more like him.  It is a form of communication and worship.  We abstain from these substances because it helps us feel of His spirit.  It brings us joy and peace.  It is our way of showing love and respect to God.

When I see someone drinking alcohol, coffee or tea, do I believe they are a bad person?  No.  First of all, it's not my place to judge others in this way.  Second, there are so many good people in this world, and many of them have completely different habits and customs.  We are all human, AND all precious to our creator.  God has given us all a beautiful gift of agency, and we get to make our own decisions.  Why we choose to do certain things are personal between the individual and God.  However, I would definitely encourage anyone to try not consuming these drinks because of the great peace, joy and fulfillment it has given me.  I hope my choices would inspire and bless the lives of others.  Still, there are many ways to draw near to God.  Everyone does it differently, and I believe God is pleased with all whose hearts are turned toward him!

My Testimony
I am a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father.  When I pray and read His words, I can feel His love for me.  He answers my prayers.  I have gained a personal testimony that the Word of Wisdom is inspired instruction from God, and I know that He has blessed me for my obedience.  I'm thankful for the direction my Heavenly Father gives me and for the way that it has strengthened my character and faith in Him.  I hope for the opportunity to bless others with these great gifts that He has given me.  I write these things in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen.


  1. Whitney, Although you are of a different religion than myself, with different convictions; I believe that we strive to worship the same God. I thought this was beautifully written, forthright, and honest as to who you are. I admire your strength in following your convictions. You are a beautiful person.

    1. Thanks, Grandma! I think we really are a lot alike. :) I know God is pleased with ALL whose hearts are turned toward Him! Thanks for being such a light!

  2. This is such a great post. I love the layout, the look, and especially the content! GOOD JOB WHEMME!!!

    1. Aww! You know how to make me smile, Amber! You're so sweet! Thanks! And I LOVE the nicknames you come up with!! Haha! "Whemme" has to be my favorite so far! You are so creative!