A Utah Non-Mormon Talks About The BYU Study

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

A study at BYU found that Utah Mormons weigh 4.6 pounds more than Utah Non-Mormons. Ironically, this is great news, because ten years ago, Utah Mormons used to weigh 5.7 pounds more than Utah Non-Mormons.

So much of my experience with growing up was blaming things on the Mormons. We have huge ice cream parlors here dedicated to decadent treats. I used to blame this on Mormons until I heard about Ben and Jerry’s. I don’t think there are enough Mormons in Vermont to have started that craze.

I remember seeing a editorial cartoon in the Salt Lake Tribune where a fat Mormon woman with a huge ice cream sundae was scolding a thin woman who was smoking. She said, “You’re just praying for a heart attack.” I remember laughing at that cartoon blaming the Mormons for their judgemental behavior when I was doing just as much judging myself.

The problem that I have with this study is that they are comparing the weights of Mormons to Non-Mormons. We’re all human. We all have the same access to the same restaurants in the state. Why are they comparing us? If the study had turned out the other way, I wonder what headlines would be announced on the local news. “Word of Wisdom Protects The Faithful” is what comes to my mind.

Ironically, the Word of Wisdom SHOULD protect the faithful. In 1833, before science truly knew what was healthy and what wasn’t, Joseph Smith released the Word of Wisdom with recommendations for a healthy life:

  • Avoid Alcohol and Strong Drink (such as Coca-Cola or other caffeinated or carbonated beverages): “That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good.”

  • Avoid Tobacco: “Tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man.”

  • Avoid Hot Drinks (such as coffee and tea): “Hot drinks are not for the body or belly.”

  • Eat Your Vegetables: “Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.”

  • Eat Meat Sparingly: “Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly; And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.”

  • Eat More Whole Grains and Feed Your Animals Grains: “All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth.”

  • You’ll Be Healthy If You Eat This Way: “And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones; And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.”

All of these recommendations came before the Food Pyramid and the research about tobacco related deaths. Whether you believe these recommendations came because of divine inspiration or because it’s more economical to feed the minions on grain than it is on beef is a discussion for the Theology wing, but the truth of the matter is, the Word of Wisdom SHOULD be making the members of the LDS church thinner than their Non-Mormon counterparts. Why aren’t they?

You can read the full Word of Wisdom here:

Via: food museum blog: Utah Mormons Weigh More, But Less Than Before


4 Responses to “A Utah Non-Mormon Talks About The BYU Study”

  1. Emily Elizabeth Says:

    The answer to that question is two-fold. One, some people are more genetically pre-dispositioned to be heavier than others. But, the main reason is that many people forget the part in D&C 89 that states all things must be used in moderation. So, some people eat more than they should, and that’s not obeying the Word of Wisdom. Plus, exercise is required and being active. LDS people aren’t protected from being obese. Great post!

  2. Rosa Gerth Says:

    If I had a dime for every article or study showing that tea, black or green, is actually GOOD for people, and that there isn’t much wrong with coffee as well, I would have a lot of dimes by now. Smith was never original about anything – there were great debates at the time about health damage caused by “hot drinks.” Didn’t God know about sugar? Sweets are many times worse for people than tea or cofee. Also, at the time, people were dying of typhoid fever and tea or coffee should be many times better than water not boiled!!! Where was the “wisdom” of it? Wine in moderation also isn’t that bad for people’s cardiovascular health. Didn’t Jesus himself make wine? Shouldn’t HE know about the “word of wisdom”?

  3. Camille S. Says:

    One thing that came to mind when reading this article was that mormon women generally have more children opposed to “non-mormon” women, which can cause weight gain. Another factor could be that mormons aren’t active on Sundays which non mormons can go enjoy there Sunday afternoons walking, hiking, ect. I wouldn’t necessarily say that the direct correlation between mormons who weight more and the word of wisdom is an accurate assessment. You would have to include all the physical and environmental factors. Another thing to remember if you read in D&C 89 that verse that says this is for the “week and the weekest.” It probably wouldn’t be such a big deal if everyone could use moderation.

  4. Jann Says:

    “So much of my experience with growing up [in Utah] was blaming things on the Mormons.” This is exactly why, as a Mormon I do not live in Utah.

    “Religious faith also promotes acceptance of one’s body. A Cornell university study finds that religious adherents are less likely to perceive themselvles as overweight.” (Psychology Today, May 2007, p. 16)

    It all depends on how you look at it. The Salt Lake Tribune will cast the data in a way that negatively reflects upon Mormons. Thank goodness I live outside of Utah – not for the Mormons but for the anti-Mormons.

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