Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Doctrine of Christ

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

The Doctrine of Christ, by D. Todd Christofferson
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

I've had many entertaining discussions regarding doctrine—wondering if a common LDS practice is actual doctrine of the Church or just a cultural proactive. The one that seemed to rise the most often is regarding caffeine.

It's interesting to note that most-if-not-all discussions on caffeine and how it related to the Word of Wisdom took place outside of official church teaching (there weren't apostles in the room or teaching via general conference addresses).

Four years ago I wrote about my quest for perfection as well as my tendency to want to judge others for not doing what I'm doing (link). In trying to clarify my beliefs, I made this cute graphic on the Word of Wisdom and the confusing place that caffeine has in it (NOTE: I still believe that chocolate has caffeine no matter how many people tell me that what it has is the same as caffeine, but of a different name: theobromine):

The fascinating and opinion-driven caffeine discussions shifted recently when the Church clearly pointed out (link) that caffeine is not included in the word of wisdom: "the Church revelation spelling out health practices (Doctrine and Covenants 89) does not mention the use of caffeine." I should point out that caffeine is not only not among the "thou shalt nots," but it is absent from the list of good, healthy choices as well.

So what should we do? Do we make a mad rush to Costco to buy a year's supply of Diet Coke? (I still think cola is gross, so my year's supply would be less than one can!)

Instead of a shopping spree, I suggest that we reevaluate. After quoting the ninth Article of Faith (We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God), Elder Christofferson expounded:

While there is much we do not yet know, the truths and doctrine we have received have come and will continue to come by divine revelation.

Now that part of the caffeine question has been answered, let's remind ourselves of things that are more important. Elder Christofferson reminded that the Savior is central in our doctrine by sharing a definitive one-sentence quote from Joseph Smith (which I added emphasis to part):

The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.

I'm reminded once again that Christ is more important than cola—both in discussion topics and the lifestyle I try to pursue. While the caffeine statement doesn't really affect me, the underlying principles of doctrine, revelation, and implementation do.

Will I listen and obey the words of the Lord when He speaks to me through the Holy Ghost? Will I listen and obey when prophets and apostles likewise deliver His messages?

I try to.

And for good measure, I'll also continue staying away from cola.

But my love of chocolate remains unshaken!

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