When is it okay to eat meat?

Posted on February 10, 2006 at 12:25 pm

Current issues

Follow Gramps:

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail
Print Friendly

Dear Gramps,

There’s something I struggle with as a member of the Mormon Church. When was a revelation received that said meat was okay to eat or is the only part of the Word of Wisdom that allows people to be temple worthy is to abstain from coffee, tea, tobacco, or alcohol? Is it a sin to not eat meat? Can one gain exaltation if they choose not to? I want your answer on this.

Derek

 

Dear Derek,

In partial answer to your question, the comma in verse 13 of Section 89 is of particular significance. With that comma in place, in the phraseit is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine, the word only could be replaced by except, suggesting that meat should not be eaten when those severe conditions did not obtain. However, that comma did not appear in the original version of the Doctrine and Covenants, nor in subsequent versions, until the 1920 version when the Doctrine and Covenants was divided into columns. Without that comma, in the phraseit is pleasing unto me that they should not be used only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine, the word only, implies that it is proper to eat meat during those severe conditions, and also during other times as well. In this context the word only could be replaced by the word just.

When the question of where that comma came from was posed to Elder Bruce R. McConkie, his reply was, “We eat meat in the winter, we eat meat in the spring, we eat meat in the summer, we eat meat in the fall. As to where that comma came from, I have no idea.”

That interpretation of verse 13 is consistent with D&C 49:19-

For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance.

Now, looking at D&C 89:13-14,

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 these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.

We observe here that different classes of animals are mentioned-beasts of the field, fowls and wild animals. The pronoun these in verse 14 refers only to its antecedent wild animals, not to all animals. Thus, wild animals should not be used for food except in times of famine and excess of hunger. This is consistent with the phrase in D&C 49:21,

And wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need.

The idea of hunting wild animals for sport or for food when the meat of domestic animals (beasts of the field) is abundant is repulsive to the Lord, and those who indulge in such destruction of this class of God’s creatures will be held accountable for their actions.

However, the injunction is given in D&C 89:12 that the flesh of domestic animals and fowls should be eaten sparingly,

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.

So it would seem from the above that it is not against the will of the Lord to eat the meat of domesticated animals at any season of the year, but to do so sparingly; the interpretation of the word sparingly being left to the judgement of each individual.

Gramps

Summary
Article Name
When is it okay to eat meat? - Ask Gramps - Q and A about Mormon Doctrine
Author
Description
There’s something I struggle with as a member of the Mormon Church. When was a revelation received that said meat was okay to eat or is the only part of the Word of Wisdom

Follow Gramps:

Is it fair that some shall be barred from Celestial glory?

September 28, 2014 7:44 am

Question Gramps, D&C 88:22 says “For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.” I understand temple marriage (more)

Can one be forgiven of incest?

September 27, 2014 7:27 am

Question Gramps, Recently a discussion was going on about sins that are forgivable and unforgivable.  It was mentioned that incest was ranked as an unforgivable sin.  Can one (more)

Do you have to be dead to be called forth for the resurrection?

September 24, 2014 7:56 am

Question Gramps, My daughter came home from school recently and said that her seminary teacher told them if their patriarchal blessing said they would come forth on the (more)

Did the Hoffman papers prove a Prophet can be led astray?

September 21, 2014 9:07 am

Question Gramps, If prophets are led by God and will never lead his people astray why did Gordon B. Hinckley buy the phony Hoffman letters that led to (more)

Why doesn’t the LDS church encourage the members to cry out for repentance?

September 19, 2014 10:22 am

Question Gramps, Why doesn’t the LDS Church encourage the members to cry out repentance? As you can see, prophecies are beginning to unfold very quickly. I admire those (more)

Did the Savior personally baptize anyone?

September 18, 2014 8:22 am

Question Gramps, Did the Savior personally baptize anyone, either in Jerusalem or in the Americas?? Lee   Answer Dear Lee, The scriptures state that Jesus encouraged baptism among (more)

Sending in questions to Ask Gramps

September 17, 2014 8:11 pm

At this time we are experiencing some technical difficulties when trying to submit a question to Ask Gramps.  Currently it doesn’t appear as if the question is going through, (more)

Who are the 144,000 spoken of in Revelation?

September 17, 2014 8:26 am

Question Gramps, Who are the 144,000 spoken of in Revelation ? Thank you. Donna     Answer Dear Donna, Joseph Smith was asked the same question (along with (more)

Are there scriptural references that Christ was nailed to the cross?

September 16, 2014 8:10 am

 Question Gramps, I have been a member all my life and I had someone ask me a question and I was stumped. I have asked Institute teachers and (more)

Why not polyandry in the Celestial Kingdom?

September 15, 2014 7:49 am

Question Gramps, The subject basically says it all. It doesn’t make sense to me that Heavenly Father would treat his daughters and sons differently from one another. Why (more)

Where can I find Ezra Taft Benson’s talk about the last days?

September 9, 2014 10:50 am

Question Gramps, I keep hearing about a talk that Ezra Taft Benson gave in a devotional regarding events leading to the last days.  Have you heard of it (more)

Why wasn’t Priesthood authority restored first?

September 7, 2014 7:31 am

Question Gramps, If the Priesthood is the power of God given to men on earth, why was it not restored first? Wouldn’t this power and authority be  required (more)