By Allen Leigh, Guest Blogger
Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants, known as the Word of Wisdom, was given in February 1833 and gives advice from the Lord about food and drink.
A Word of Wisdom, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion—
To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days—
Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints. (D&C 89:1-3)
That information was originally given as a warning to the Saints.
Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation— (D&C 89:4)
Later prophets made the Word of Wisdom a law of the church, but the church seems to have ignored or forgotten the counsel of the Lord that “conspiring men [and women] in the last days” would have evils and designs about our bodies. I say this, because I don’t remember ever being told by church leaders and church literature that the Word of Wisdom is a warning about men and women who have hidden agendas about smoking and drinking. So, let me state it clearly, the Word of Wisdom is first, a warning about conspiring men and women in the last days, and second, a mandatory health law of the church.
Scientists are researching the health of our bodies. They are learning that tobacco and alcohol companies have kept certain information hidden from the public. Anna Gilmore, Professor of Public Health & Health Foundation Clinician Scientist in the University of Bath’s Department for Health and the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, reported that:
Tobacco companies use their price changes to win two ways in the UK: when tobacco taxes increase each year, the tobacco companies hide their price increases on more expensive cigarettes behind the tax increases, making large profits from smokers who aren’t bothered by price increases. Simultaneously, they cut the prices of their cheapest cigarettes so that smokers who would be deterred by price hikes continue to smoke.
Researchers from the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco studied documents from the tobacco industry that had been kept secret from the public and learned that tobacco companies were able to influence government regulation of tobacco products, such that regulations were favorable to the tobacco industry.
When assessing information presented by the tobacco industry, the US regulator, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and regulatory bodies in other countries, should be aware that they are dealing with companies with a long history of intentionally misleading the public. They therefore should actively protect their public-health policies on smoking from the commercial interests of the tobacco industry and not consider the industry as a stakeholder, concludes a study by experts from the US and Germany published in this week’s PLOS Medicine.
The BMJ Group is a commercial subsidiary of the British Medical Association. It published a report in 1998 titled Dark secrets of tobacco company exposed. That report included the following paragraphs.
Just eight months earlier, BAT scientists had laid out some basic assumptions about cigarettes. A 28 Aug 1979 memo reads: “We are searching explicitly for a socially acceptable addictive product involving: a pattern of repeated consumption; a product which is likely to involve repeated handling; the essential constituent is most likely to be nicotine or a ‘direct’ substitute for it.”
Public disclosure of once-secret industry documents has shown that Big Tobacco privately considered tobacco addictive and harmful at least four decades ago, even as it brushed aside claims that it manipulated nicotine in cigarettes to hook smokers.
The report discussed in detail efforts of BAT (the British cigarette maker) to increase nicotine use by its customers. The report also mentioned efforts of the American company, Phillip Morris, to increase the nicotine in its cigarettes.
Philip Morris, BAT’s competitor, already had discovered that by adding ammonia to its cigarettes, it could increase the ratio of free nicotine, and consequently the popularity of its Marlboro brand. In a few years, sales of Marlboro, with ammonia added, propelled Philip Morris past BAT to become the world’s No 1 cigarette manufacturer.
Another way that tobacco companies deceive consumers is through advertising that emphasizes positive effects of smoking while ignoring the many scientific reports about harmful effects of smoking.
Tobacco ads really do persuade teens to take up smoking, with every 10 sightings boosting the risk by almost 40 per cent, reveals research published in the online only journal BMJ Open.
The tobacco industry is now using smarphone apps — a medium that has global reach, including to children — to promote its products, warn researchers in [the online journal] Tobacco Control.
Tobacco companies are not the only companies that have hidden agendas about their products. Researchers from the “London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, found that the alcohol industry had ignored, misrepresented and undermined scientific evidence in submissions made to the Scottish Government’s 2008 consultation, ‘Changing Scotland’s relationship with alcohol.'”
Dr McCambridge said: “There is a broad consensus internationally among researchers that the most effective measures to control problems caused by alcohol are to raise the price, control availability and restrict marketing activities. However, our study shows that key players in the alcohol industry constructed doubt about this wealth of scientific evidence and instead chose to promote weak survey-based evidence as well as making unsubstantiated claims to their advantage.
The bottom line to all of this is that tobacco and alcohol companies are businesses that try to maximize their profits, even if that is done at the peril of the public health. Hence, the warning from the Lord about men and women conspiring in the last days to mess with our food and drink.
I believe the coffee and tea industries are probably also guilty of withholding information from the public, but I haven’t found any scientific studies to substantiate that belief. In future postings, I’ll present scientific research about the effects on our bodies of tobacco, alcohol, tea, and coffee.