Having a bit of behind the scenes knowledge can sometimes be an interesting thing. For instance, today the three speakers were asked to speak on "drawing strength from daily prayer," "changing our lives in accordance with gospel principles," and "providing the Lord's way." Interestingly, all three focused on the word of wisdom. Also interestingly, the three pretty much ran the gamut of interpretation of the WOW, from the juvenile, "don't drink, don't smoke" to the more nuanced approach that acknowledges more of the spiritual side of the physical law, and finally to the embracing of the entire section of the D&C in a way that emphasizes living a simple, healthy, self-sufficient lifestyle. The last speaker even went through the "Do's" of the WOW, including eating herbs, fruits, and grains, and eating meat sparingly. He highlighted families who grew much of their own food, and talked about the health and financial benefits of doing so (though I seriously doubt we could all expect to avoid all illness just by growing our own food--people grew all their own food for thousands of years, and I'm pretty sure farmers got sick during that time, too).
I've never thought of the WOW as a law that encourages self-reliance, but that interpretation makes sense in a lot of ways (and makes the eventual emphasis on abstaining from coffee, tea, and alcohol fit in better--all three are things that were expensive and tough to come by in early Utah. I've heard some suggest Brigham Young interpreted D&C 89 as pertaining to those items for economic reasons as much as health reasons). Societally, if we were to cut back on meat consumption, not only would we likely see a reduction in a lot of health problems, but we'd consume far less of the world's resources and would emit far less CO2. (Note, I'm not advocating going vegan--nor is the WOW, obviously, but it is clear to me that there are a lot of reasons for reducing meat consumption, and some of them are spiritual.)
All in all, it was a really good meeting. Actually, all three meetings today were excellent. Far too often I come away wondering why I go, but I really felt like I got something out of church today. I learned, I was engaged, and I remembered why I believe in this gospel, and why I follow it even when I'm in the midst of a time of questioning.