Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pondering Meat and God

Over the summer, my urologist told me to cut my meat intake in half, avoid all salt, and otherwise pretend I'm 20-30 years older than I am or TRAGIC CONSEQUENCES could follow. How he determined that from five minutes with me, I'm not sure.

For not-the-first time I was stuck between multiple doctors giving me conflicting dietary advice.
I decided I would study Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which contains what members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints call The Word of Wisdom. It contains some of God's dietary advice. It's why Mormons don't smoke and don't drink alcohol, coffee, or tea.

It also contains an encouragement to eat fruits, vegetables, and grains (especially wheat) [vs 10-11, 14-17]. And it says this about eating animals and animal products:

 12 Yea, aflesh also of bbeasts 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 csparingly;
 13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be aused, only in times of winter, or of cold, or bfamine.
I realized that I had been taking those words lightly before: "It is pleasing unto me." Before I cheerfully said, "Well, that's not Thou Shalt Not, so I can go and enjoy in thanksgiving. :)" I could imagine a disgruntled Voice saying, "I told you it would please me, but did you take the slightest interest in what would please me? No, you didn't."

I felt really bad. So far what I've decided is to not eat dead animals for breakfast or lunch, in an attempt to show God that I really do want to do what would please Him.

While I was in California, though, I came up with an odd question. One evening at a restaurant, I ordered the shrimp, thinking that they would be much less meat in ounces than the prime rib. As I enjoyed them, I wondered WHY it would please God and what that should imply for me...

  • If it would please Him because He wants His children to be healthy, then it is a good thing (among the meat I eat sparingly) to eat less beef and enjoy more chicken and shrimp.
  • If it would please Him because He doesn't like His animal creations to die needlessly, then it's better to eat beef than shrimp. One cow will feed many people, while I had just eaten 4-6 formerly living creations.
  • If it would please Him because livestock pollute the atmosphere [I consider it unlikely, but I do think He cares about His earth], then the methane-producing cows, camels, and buffalo are rather worse than chickens and shrimp. They also use up more water per pound of meat, require more land, produce more smelly products that in high concentrations pollute water, and and and.

I also realize that I'm in the same position as the folks deciding God doesn't like "hot drinks" [=coffee and tea] because of the caffeine and therefore .... But there is some value in trying to come closer to understanding and being like our Father [John 17:3 anyone?] and if the goal is to please Him, I'd rather do a better job at it than a worse job. Your thoughts?