A Planned Peccadillo
So, now that I've finally owned up to the fact I don't really believe in my church. there's no good reason for me to follow its arbitrary rules.
I certainly don't mean rules like "Thou Shalt Not Steal" and "Do unto others as ye would have them do unto you". Even when I did consider myself a faithful Christian, I never put any stock in the argument that religion was the only reason for people to live a moral life. It's always seemed to me that if the only reason you're being a good person is in the hope of some eternal reward (or for fear of eternal punishment), you're not really a good person at all. You're just pretending to be for purely selfish motivations. Besides, it's all too easy to invent reasons for why some particular instance of intolerance could be justified; religious precepts don't really make people act good at all, because it's way too easy to rationalize one's way around them. This isn't to say, of course, that there aren't plenty of good people who are religious, but I'm confident those who among the religious faithful who are truly good and benevolent would be just as good and benevolent without their religious beliefs.
So I'm not referring to the basic foundations of ethics and morality. I think I've always been a basically good and honest person, and I don't think my religion ever had anything to do with that, so that's not going to change. But there are lots of commandments and recommendations in the LDS church that have nothing to do with basic ethics and morality. Such as the stricture to continually wear the official temple garments. (Which stricture, admittedly, I hadn't been following anyway; I never wear the blasted things at home alone.) And such as the Word of Wisdom.
The Word of Wisdom is a set of health guidelines that include some of the LDS church's most famous prohibitions: the forbiddance of smoking and drinking coffee, tea, and alcohol. I say "guidelines", but really they're stronger than that; smoking or otherwise violating the Word of Wisdom won't get you excommunicated, but it will prevent you from being considered worthy to enter the temple. Technically, the Word of Wisdom also includes the injunction to eat meat "sparingly"--even saying that it is pleasing to God "that [meat] should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine"--but that part's pretty much universally ignored. Heck, at my mother's house, it's de rigeur for just about every dinner to include huge slabs of meat of some kind or another.
Anyway, while my newfound atheism isn't going to change anything about my basic principles or my attitude toward my fellow man, I figure things like the Word of Wisdom I don't really have any reason to follow. That certainly doesn't mean I'm going to go out and start smoking; there are health reasons to avoid that quite apart from any supposed divine dictate. But it does mean I'm going to be a bit less scrupulous about avoiding some of the other items on the banned list.
So I decided today I'd order a Mocha Cappuccino shake at Burger King.
Hey, baby steps, man. Baby steps.
As it turned out, though, the local Burger King was out of every shake flavor except vanilla. So I guess I'll be keeping the Word of Wisdom for at least one more day.
Well, except the part about using meat sparingly. It's not winter, and it's definitely not a time of cold, and I did have an Extreme Spicy Tendercrisp.