Unfortunately, it has been so long since I first composed these thoughts (13 May)that I have forgotten the blog post which sparked them. It's been sitting as a draft for a long time, so I thought I'd just post it to promote it to full-fledged blog entry. It may seem out-of-the-blue and incomplete, but it's relevant, I think, to some recent thoughts of mine, so without explaining how it relates (I'm lazy tonight), here it is:
What of the prohibition against coffee and tea? The very revelation in Doctrine and Covenants says it's given not by way of commandment but as counsel. Now, I think it was Brigham Young who said that as far as he is concerned, the Lord's counsel is as good as commandment, and the church decided to adopt abstinence from coffee and tea (among other things which are, in my opinion, more pernicious and damaging) as a prerequisite to entering the temple. Was this a Pharisaical move? I sometimes wonder. I comply because for now, there are things more important than a nice cappuccino.
And maybe those proscriptions simply serve as examples among many other things we might try to minimize or eliminate? Is it possible that we just needed a reminder that there are more subtle things to pay attention to, and SOMETHING had to be used as an example? Is the person who constantly and exclusively eats body-insulting junk food more righteous or worthy than someone who drinks a cup of coffee in the morning simply because there's no specific mention of junk food in a temple recommend interview?
It does seem strange that I even consider coffee consumption in analyzing my worthiness. I don't think I would have a problem with the removal of the proscription against coffee and tea from our requirements. My healthful habits would remain. I try to generally keep myself free from addictive and harmful substances and foods.
Good thing our doctrine also includes a time to sort things out before judgement. Those who didn't have "the law" may be given it in its purest form. Those who lacked covenants through ordinances may be given the opportunity. And I believe those who missed the beauty behind the laws--the true spirit of the gospel--may discover the love and charity they should have felt through it all, to discover the true spirit of the gospel behind the law, from which they may have allowed their checklists to tragically distract them, as I think I may have and may still.
There's a danger in justifying disobedience. There's another danger in replacing love with rules. And I believe, as C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity, the frailties of the flesh will fall from us, along with temporal contexts, and we will be left with the naked soul, as God sees us, and there will be surprises.