Is the word of wisdom too controlling or restrictive? Is the word of wisdom some kind of arcane dogma that was made up so that Emma Smith didn't have to clean spittoons and pick up cigar butts every Sunday after church?
Absolutely not! The word of wisdom was way ahead of its time.
But Emma did play an integral role in its revelation by seeing the need for it in the first place. I'm sure that cleaning spittoons on Sundays played a small part in her letting Joseph know how she felt about it; that it was unbecoming of the brethren who considered themselves members of the School of Prophets.
Is the word of wisdom for everyone?
Yes and no.
The word of wisdom is a concept that I understand. I have some insight on the subject. The word of wisdom is for people like me. See, I could very easily be sleeping in a gutter somewhere, right now, all for not following the word of wisdom. I'm one of those people that can't say enough when enough is enough. I have a highly addictive personality. I am one of those who can't have just one glass of wine with dinner. I need to have more. And more and more and more.
I started drinking when I was around 18. I started drinking heavily around 21 years old. That was about the same time as the bipolar disorder kicked in. I was self medicating and I was self medicating hard. The funny thing about it is that the alcohol just makes it worse. But when you're in that place, everything gets distorted and so you just can't see clearly anymore.
Alcohol was always my drug of choice. What I loved about alcohol over anything else was its ability to take me to oblivion. What it came down to was this, I just wanted to not be conscious or aware. I wanted to black out so there was no more pain and self-hatred. Nothing could do that for me like alcohol could, so I drank a lot of it. It didn't help that it was readily available either.
If you are in that dark and lonely place right now I want you to know that there is hope. I know that you can't see it right now but I promise you that it's there and that you can find it. Be strong. There is hope inside of you whether you can see it or not. Don't mistake your need for the pain to end with wanting to die. You don't want to die. Believe me I know. And maybe you can't see right now, but your Heavenly Father loves you. Loves you personally and is with you. I can promise you that.
I wasted my 20s and I can never have those years back but I somehow pulled out of that mess. I know that I've had lots of help from lots of people. Not everyone is so lucky. My heart goes out to you who suffer alone and in silence. I know you are out there. Please be strong. It can get better. And it saddens me because I know that you don't believe me. Please don't give up. You are my brothers and sisters and it kills me to know what you are going through.
To all of you future addicts and alcoholics. Please listen to my warning. Most people can have a drink with dinner. But keep the word of wisdom and you'll never have to find out if you are not one of those people but instead are people like me, who had to learn the hard way. That is what the word of wisdom is for and if it saves one life, especially your own or someone you love then it's worth it.
And if you still think that the word of wisdom is too controlling and restrictive, try addiction for a while. You might change your mind.