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Proscriptive

spider-web-caffeinated

by Zenaida

Stake Conference:

The Stake President’s message this time was mainly about the Energy Drink “epidemic.” He began by reminding us that the Ensign is scripture. Then encouraged us to go home and read the article on energy drinks with our children.

First, let me say a couple of things:

I like the article. It is written by an MD who works at a family practice and volunteers at the MTC. The graphics are a bit neon, drugs-are-scary kind of graphics, but the chart that shows caffeine levels is informative, and the pictures of spiders on caffeine is very cool.

I agree that energy drinks are an inappropriate staple in anyone’s diet, and from what I can tell, the fad among teenagers and college students is damaging.

Next, my questions:

Is Ensign scripture? How much? Is every poem that Pres. Monson quotes, or every anecdotal story told scripture? Is it only the First Presidency messages, or is Shari Phippen’s inspiring story also scripture? Does this elevate her to the level of prophetess? Does one have to be a prophet to write scripture, or is there a difference between prophetic writing and scripture? Is our RS/PH manual scripture, or only the documents added to the offical canon (Official Declarations/Proclomations)?

Is the church responsible for the well-being of its members, including public health anouncements? The Word of Wisdom would seem to suggest so. Why do we restrict such anouncements to behavioral issues, and is this article an argument for including energy drinks in the prohibitions found in the WoW?

Almost every definition of scripture that I have seen includes mention of the Bible. It is most often a collection of sacred writings associate with a religion (most often Christianity). There is only one from Webster’s that defines scripture as: “1. Anything written; a writing; a document; an inscription.”

Image found here.

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  1. Kirsten says:

    While I agree that the hyper-caffeinated energy drinks are dangerous, I am often saddened that too many people focus on the ideas of not drinking alcohol, not smoking, staying away from caffeine,etc. of the Word of Wisdom. I wish we would pay closer attention to living it as the “spirit of the law” admonition. Too many people will pat themselves on the back and proclaim that they don’t drink or smoke, or ever have a diet Coke, and they do this as they pile the fattening foods on their plates at a Ward function for their second time through the line. Sure you may not have lung cancer, but your cholesterol levels are out of control and you could be risking your life with a heart condition.

    As far as the Ensign as scripture… I do not see it as so. That is too sweeping of a statement: the poems and anecdotal stories (many of which are fictional) do not equate scripture in my mind. I do take certain messages more seriously than others: the prophet’s message vs. the monthly food storage message…. that is a no-brainer.

  2. Douglas Hunter says:

    I did not like the article. While I realize the Ensign is not a medical journal it bothered me that there was straining to imply things and make connections that don’t hold water, such as implying that an arachnid’s response to a specific chemical has any relevance to us physiologically or spiritually. It doesn’t.

    Ensign as scripture: Does that mean that all the stock photos are scripture too?

  3. jeans says:

    Hmm, no listing in the article’s caffeine index for decaf coffee. Also, who drinks 6-7 colas a day??

  4. Lisa says:

    I thought about this today too. The Ensign published an article/story my SIL wrote just a few months ago. The idea that it could be considered scripture by some tickled me. Not that the story is bad, just…not scripture.

    That said, I’m TOTALLY going to quote her at my next talk/lesson, hahahaha. 😉

    I’m with Kirsten on the WoW thing. Geeeez.

  5. G says:

    hehheh, the article reminded me of this video

  6. FoxyJ says:

    Are energy drinks really the most pressing problem in your stake right now? I often wonder when I go to Stake meetings like this and the most important message seems to be something like this. Shouldn’t semi-annual meetings with the local leadership be about something more important, like maybe the Atonement perhaps?

  7. Libby says:

    It is an interesting article. I found myself looking at the caffeine content chart and drawing a comparison to some of the medication I take daily. The right dosage is, in medical terms, “therapeutic” — it works the way it’s supposed to. The wrong dosage gives me heart palpitations and severe dizzy spells.

    I love the wording of D&C 89: “judgment and skill” and “prudence and thanksgiving” especially. The scriptures themselves give me a perspective on the WoW that I feel is lost in the “don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t use tea or coffee” meme.

  8. sarah says:

    The spider web photos rock! I need to rethink my addiction to caffeine!

  9. amber says:

    I dont think anything is scripture unless that proper authorities deem it so (ie, Family Proclamation). I find it very strange indeed that anyone would consider articles and talks (which are simply personal interpretation) to be scripture. Insightful? Yes! Doctrine? Not hardly!

    I DO agree however with the article about energy drinks, and I think it is something that should be addressed (its about time IMO). Its mind boggling to me that so many people think its okay to guzzle these down. I think they are wrong for any reason (including when my husband tries to justify it on a long road trip!) 😛 and we teach our kids they go in the “never” bag during our WoW FHE lesson.

    I am not “letter of the law” on caffeinated drinks in general, and do enjoy a Barqs Root Beer every now and then, but I have seen too many people addicted to Coke/Pepsi/Dr Pepper who have tried for years (unsuccessfully) to quit. I dont buy it or keep it in my house, and I encourage my kids to drink water, juice or milk. Soda is only for special occassions. Its not just the sugar, its not just the carbonation, its not just the caffeine, its not just the fact that you are replacing hydrating water with dehydrating liquids…its all of it combined and its not healthy, especially in these high energy drinks!

  10. Kirsten says:

    The “spider” video was fantastic! I loved it!

  11. Zenaida says:

    Thanks for your comments!

    I think in order to appeal to a certain audience, they use the shock value of the extreme example. I think images like the spider web are meant to appeal to younger generations. I was intrigued by it. That doesn’t mean I will equate distressed spider with my own physical and spiritual well-being, but I think young people might. Especially when it’s presented that way. I think the Ensign carries specific weight because it is a church publication, even if it’s not “scripture.”

    Kirsten, I had the thought that many of the Savior’s teaching methods involved fiction, or parables. And, I think food storage is a prophet’s message.

    Douglas, according to my stake president, they must be. 🙂 Maybe only the spider ones.

    G, I could not finish that video. Bleh! I hate spiders. 😛

    FoxyJ, the other messages were on sustaining our leaders, and making sure that if we don’t get the same answer as the prophet, we need to pray again.

    Amber, who constitutes the proper authorities? Is it only the first presidency or the twelve, or is it only the Bible, BoM, etc., or are other publications like the manuals also scripture?

    You know, I tend to think that the best message I’ve learned from the church is moderation in all things, and everything has it’s time and season (as pertaining to these types of issues). I do think it’s appropriate for the church to give such “public health notices.” Some people may not get the message any other way, but I have a hard time when it’s presented as scripture, and my spiritual standing is jeapordized if I don’t go home and immediately implement the proscription.

  12. Clean Cut says:

    The Ensign is fantastic, but it is not scripture. Neither is “Gospel Principles”….

  13. Sooooo very anon says:

    Who drinks 6-7 colas a day? all of my in-laws unfortunately. Do you know how hard it’s been to break my husband down to two or three?

  14. gladtobeamom says:

    I liked the article. I think it gave some great information. So many people do not understand how harmful it can be. I know plenty of women who are using energy drinks as a diet thing or a way to function. It is not healthy and I don’t think it is scripture but something that if followed will help us out. I also know to many that bad mouth people about coffee yet get the same amount of caffeine by drinking these drinks or tons of soda.

    I know I feel much better and function just fine taking care of myself in all aspects and staying away from these things.

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