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In the Word of Wisdom various grains are recommended not only for the diet of man but also for the feeding of domesticated animals that are used for food. This concern for the diets of farm animals would seem contradictory if meat and related products such as milk and eggs are not intended to be part of our diet. Improving the quality of the food eaten by farm animals is an important issue in modern agriculture and politics.

Meat Treated Differently from Tobacco and Fruits

The recommendations that the Lord gives in the Word of Wisdom for the eating of meat is quite different from the advice regarding forbidden products such as tobacco as well as highly recommended foods such as fruits and vegetables.

Here is what is said about man’s use of tobacco—pretty clear, all negative for man, with the exception of external treatment of bruises.

“Tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man…” (D&C 89:8)

Here is what is said about man’s use of fruits and vegetables—pretty clear, all positive, simple conditions for its interpretation.

“Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.” (D&C 89:11)

In the much more complicated section on when and how much to eat “flesh also of beasts and of the fouls of the air” (verse 12) the Lord lists certain grains recommended for the diets of man and various farm animals.

“Wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals …” (D&C 89:17) [i]

#1 - 'Farm Animals

The Word of Wisdom discusses the importance of grains in the diet of farm animals. The meat of many of these animals is used for food.

This very detailed list would seem strange indeed if the modifying verses detailing various cautions and recommendations beyond the general counsel of eating meat sparingly meant that a meatless vegetarian or vegan diet was indeed the diet we should all follow.[ii] [iii]

#2 - Grains for animal feed

Many grains are used in animal feed. The Word of Wisdom mentions specific grains as being especially suitable for man and various common farm animals.

Debates about Diets for Farm Animals

It is very interesting that choices in food and how that food is raised and produced are major topics of discussion and debate and the short Word of Wisdom revelation contains important counsel on this subject.

Feeding farm animals ground-up animal protein, cottonseed and other oil-based meals, as well as the overuse of antibiotics and the merits of organic vs. non-organically raised grain and other foods are passionately debated and have a major influence on the affordability, quantity and quality of the food we eat and on the health that we seek to enjoy.[iv]

What diets to promote has even become a major political issue with the rise of the animal rights movement, diet recommendations from the World Health Organization, increased popularity of vegan and vegetarian diets and the world-wide large scale agricultural operations that produce much of our food.[v]

In my own case, I had poor health when I was young, especially after my mission to Bogotá, Colombia in 1972. Any variation from a whole grain based non-refined foods diet usually resulted in illness, including severe boils. The center of our family diet was my Dad’s whole grain cereal (made from seven grains) that was freshly ground and cooked each morning. I sometimes had as many as three helpings of this delicious honey sweetened breakfast with whole wheat toast and real butter throughout my youth starting as young as I can remember. That diet allowed me to be reasonably healthy until after my mission.

For several years, my wife and I bought organic foods from Walnut Acres organic farm in Pennsylvania to try to help me get over severe digestive problems that the doctors were unable to successfully treat. That partly organic food diet combined with some other alternative approaches resulted in a dramatic improvement in my health. One of our first major purchases was a bread grinder/mixer combination appliance.[vi]

#3 - mill and mix

The Mill and Mix Grinder/Mixer model like the one my wife and I bought and wore out over 12 years making whole wheat bread, the main staple of our diet.

The Lord Gives Us Revelation to Guide Us

The Lord has given us revelation and modern prophets to help us navigate through important issues regarding the food we eat. He gives us this counsel “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.” (D&C 89:2) [vii]


#4 - word of wisdom revelation

“The Lord revealed the Word of Wisdom to the Prophet Joseph Smith to help the Saints receive physical and spiritual strength.”

The Lord’s listing of grains especially suitable for farm animals in the Word of Wisdom seems to support feeding farm animals high quality food. However, I believe that this interesting list also supports the normal and prudent use of farm animals and related products like milk and eggs in our diets as they have been used throughout the history of the world.

“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;” (D&C 89:12)



[i] “Help Save Farm Animals,” World Animal Foundation, Retrieved 11/8/2015.


“The problems with factory farming are numerous. Animals have no outlet for natural behaviors—in some cases, they’re not even allowed to turn around. They are separated from their mothers at only a day or two old, are subjected to painful procedures without anesthesia, and may be undernourished or overfed. To control disease, industrial farmers feed antibiotics to the animals, resulting in the growth of disease-resistant bacteria that are harder to treat in both animals and humans.”

[ii] Ronald P. Millett, “Eggs, Milk Cows and Goats: Word of Wisdom and Vegetarian Diets,” Meridian Magazine, June 23, 2015.


“The most restrictive vegetarian diet, the vegan diet, that eliminates animal products, including eggs and dairy products, is not recommended in the Word of Wisdom nor endorsed by General Authorities. Current average life expectancy and heart disease data support the assertion that a diet that prohibits eating these animal products is not warranted.”

[iii] “Feed Ingredients,” Linear Grain, Retrieved 11/8/2015.


“We originate, store and transport grains and oilseeds such as feed & malt barley, canola, corn, flax, oats, peas, rye, soybeans, sunflowers, milling and feed wheats as well as off-grade grain.”

[iv] “Protein Sources for the Animal Feed Industry,” FAO Repository, Retrieved 11/8/2015.


“Demand for meat could increase by 58 percent between 1995 and 2020 according to IMPACT food model predictions of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Poultry meat demand might increase by 85 percent; beef by 50 percent and pigmeat by 45 percent over this time period. IFPRI also predict that 97.5 percent of the population increase up to 2020 will be in the developing world, representing at this time 84 percent of global society. Income growth; urbanization; changes in lifestyles and food preferences in addition to continuing population growth could double the demand for meat in the developing world up to 2020. Other drivers for change in the agri-food sector include advances in technology; regulatory requirements and institutional pressures; environmental considerations; globalization influences; competition and political intervention. All of these factors, to a greater or lesser extent, will impact on the so-called ‘livestock revolution’. Future feed sources and supply to support the substantial growth in livestock production, as well as the approaches to livestock husbandry, are a continuing cause for concern. Protein availability and supply is a particular concern, especially in the light of meat and bonemeal restrictions, the adoption of genetically modified crops, dioxin residues in fishmeal and increasing pressures on fisheries policy. Sources of protein are reviewed, including by-products of the food industry, oilseeds and arable and forage legumes. Alternative, and currently less common, plant protein sources are assessed.”

Alex Park, “5 Surprising Things we Feed Cows,”, Dec 19, 2013.


“In addition to the old standbys of corn, soy, hay (and, uh, drugs), “there’s a lot of stuff which the general public might not think of as feeds which are actually quite common,” says Cory Parsons, a livestock nutrition expert at Oregon State University. For example: Sawdust … Candy: wrapers and all …Chicken waste … Ground Limestone … Crab Guts …”

“The Overuse of Antibiotics in Food Animals threatens Public Health,” ConsumersUnion, Retrieved 11/8/2015.


“Antibiotics have been used since the 1940s and have led to a dramatic reduction in illness and death from infectious diseases. But according to the federal Interagency Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance, “[t]he extensive use of antimicrobial drugs has resulted in drug resistance that threatens to reverse the medical advances of the last seventy years.”1   Since antibiotics have been used so widely and for so long, antibiotic resistance has become a major public health threat.”

Scottie Misner and Traci Armstrong Florian, “Organically Grown Foods versus Non-Organically Grown Foods,” College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Arizona, August 2013.


“Diet plays an important role in health and disease. The foods we choose to eat can help in the prevention of many illnesses, thus increasing our quality of life. In the local supermarket or health food store, there are more food choices than ever before. This can often lead to confusion in determining what food choices are the healthiest. Some people are choosing organically grown foods over conventionally grown foods. The main reasons some choose to consume organically grown foods is the thought that (1) they are consuming little or no pesticide residue left on produce, (2) they want to support an industry that is more gentle and has less negative impacts on the environment (3) they believe organically grown foods have higher levels of nutrients. It is important for individuals to weigh the proposed health benefits and financial cost of consuming organic vs. non-organic foods.”

“A Stanford University Meta-Analysis (which is a detailed study of several related studies) found that in 237 studies comparing organically grown foods versus conventionally grown foods there were little differences between the two.”

[v] Abby Young-Powell and Natalie Gil, “Should Everyone Become Vegetarian?” TheGuardian, April 10, 2015.


“With ethical diets on the increase among young voters, we talk to them about what they eat and why it matters politically.”

“Vegetarian diets are gaining in popularity, with 12% of UK adults following a vegetarian or vegan diet, according to research published last year. Millions more are flexitarians, cutting down on meat. Environmental or health concerns are given as reasons.”

“Jess Murray, 19, philosophy student at University College London (UCL), is vegan. She says:

Summary: “Everyone should cut down on meat – western meat-eating levels are unsustainable

“Becoming vegan was an ethical decision. I wanted to avoid killing animals just because I wanted – rather than needed – to eat them. I moved from being vegetarian to vegan as I realised that vegetarianism does little in terms of animal rights – people tend to up their dairy intake as vegetarians, and the dairy industry is filled with cruelty. It’s hard to justify the meat and dairy industries as they currently stand, because the animals are treated badly, and unless you have the money, it’s hard to obtain ethically sourced meat. Everyone should cut down on their meat consumption, as current western meat-eating levels are at an unsustainable level.”

“Jena Herbert, 21, a PGCE student at University College London (UCL), is vegetarian. She says:

Summary: “‘It’s selfish and unethical for humans to kill animals for food’

“I’ve been vegetarian all my life – almost 22 years. Just like us, animals have feelings and suffer considerably due to the meat industry, and it seems to me to be selfish and unethical for humans to continue to kill animals for food when there are so many wonderful alternatives out there now. I’d never say that everyone should eat in the same way as me. I do think, however, that it would be good for our planet if more people thought more carefully about, not only where their food comes from, but also how it ends up on your plate. I believe that many of my friends would cut down on their meat intake if they saw some of the inhumane methods undertaken in slaughterhouses.”

“Frederick Wilson-Hafffenden, 22, Cambridge graduate working for an educational startup, eats meat. He says:

Summary: “‘I’d like more emphasis to be put on the environment in politics’

“I eat meat because I believe it to be healthy and I enjoy it, but I don’t think you need it with every meal. I probably eat it once a day. Everyone should know where their meat is from – animal welfare is very important, as is humane slaughter. I don’t buy organic meat but always buy free-range meat, and my family eat the meat from our farm.

“Having grown up around animals and seen both organic and non-organic produce, I think non-organic gives the animals a more comfortable life. It allows “chemical” medicines to be used in the same way that we use “chemical” medicines on humans, rather than finding a naturally occurring compound to attempt to do the same job. Buying local produce is also important. I’d like more emphasis to be put on the environment in politics.”

Ronald P. Millett, “Eggs, Milk cows and Goats: Word of Wisdom and Vegetarian Diets,” Meridian Magazine, June 23, 2015.


“The most restrictive vegetarian diet, the vegan diet, that eliminates animal products, including eggs and dairy products, is not recommended in the Word of Wisdom nor endorsed by General Authorities. Current average life expectancy and heart disease data support the assertion that a diet that prohibits eating these animal products is not warranted.”

Jane Birch, “Discovering the Word of Wisdom: Meat Causes Cancer,” Meridian Magazine, November 2, 2015.


“As you probably heard on the news, last week the World’s Health Organization (WHO) announced that processed meats cause cancer. In fact, the strength of the evidence placed processed meats in the highest of five possible classifications of cancer-causing substances (along with alcohol, asbestos, arsenic, and cigarettes).[1] Processed meats include hot dogs, ham, sausages, corned beef, beef jerky, canned meat, and meat-based preparations and sauces, etc.

“The WHO also announced there is cause to believe that red meats (e.g. beef, pork, veal, lamb, mutton, horse, goat meat, etc.) probably also cause cancer (and placed these in the second highest classification, based on strength of evidence).”

Heading: “Why Continue to Consume a Carcinogen?

“A carcinogen is a substance that causes cancer. While meat is not as dangerous or lethal as smoking, the research announced by the World Health Organization confirms there is sufficient evidence to declare that processed meat is a carcinogen. In addition, there is enough evidence to state that red meat is likely a carcinogen as well. Of course, consuming a carcinogen is not a guarantee of getting cancer. There are people who smoke their whole lives and never get cancer, but the risks of getting cancer are increased by smoking . . . and they are increased by consuming meat.

“When the Lord has provided us with so many wonderful, wholesome, delicious plants, why consume a known cancer-causing food? Why serve it to our guests? Why feed it to our precious children? Why not heed the counsel from a loving Savior in D&C 89 to not use it, except in times of need? We won’t go hungry. We’ll still have a plethora of delicious foods. We’ll lose weight and feel better. In addition, by heeding this counsel, we’ll have increased peace of mind and joy in knowing what we are doing is pleasing to the Lord.”

[vi] Walnut Acres Farm, Who We Are,, retrieved 11/8/2015.


“Walnut Acres is America’s first organic food company.

“We’ve been producing delicious organic foods since 1946. True to our beginnings, we make organic foods and beverages that nourish your body and invigorate your soul. We understand that despite the hectic pace of life you are committed to healthy living and enjoyment of delicious food. So we continue to create tasty and convenient organic foods and strive to make them available wherever you chose to shop.”

RPMNote: In this era of extensive organic farming and availability, the products at the Walnut Acres farm have been reduced to more specialty items, such as sauces, salsas and juices, than was offered 40 years ago. I remember the excellent canned food that we ordered and used and had a very positive effect on my health. Peas, corn, green beans, beef and chicken stews and soups, canned beef and canned chicken were some of my favorites.

Mill & Mix Grinder/Dough Mixer, Made in Brigham City,, sold May 30, 2007.


RPMNote: This wonderful grinder and mixer could make large batches of delicious home made whole wheat bread. We wore out this great appliance over about 12 years starting in 1975 or 1976.

[vii] “In the World but Not of the World,” “Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith,”, 2013.