Word of Wisdom: Stupid Rule or Cool?

You Gotta Fight for the Right to Party

You Gotta Fight For the Right to Party, at least that's what the Beastie Boys said. Is it true? And if so, is the right to party worth fighting for? That's the question we're going to talk about in this series, and I'm hoping we can come up with some answers that make sense.

Before we get started though, I have to admit one thing—I'm a mom. In fact, I'm such a mom that my kids have been known to put their hands over their ears and make loud shrieking noises while I'm voicing my opinions. The good news is that I'm not your mom, which will probably make it a whole lot easier for you to put up with me! Just to be sure though, I'm ready to make you a deal. If you won't screech, I won't preach. (Or at least, I'll try not to.) Fair enough? Good, because I really think I'm onto something here, and creative (resourceful, enterprising, inventive, bold, active, lively, independent) minds may just agree that being onto something beats being on something every time.

I don't have to tell you that alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs have been around for years. When I was 15 (who said "Dark Ages?!"), teenagers used to tell their parents "everyone was doing it." At the time, that was a major exaggeration, but today it's closer to the truth. Nearly everyone IS doing it, which can make standing up for what's right a lot harder. You've probably already learned that it's no walk in the park being one of a "peculiar people," especially when you're trying to be reasonably cool.

How hard is it to be one of the few guys on the team who doesn't throw down a beer once in awhile? How does it feel to be labeled "close-minded," "too religious," or even "brainwashed by your parents" because you won't try just one cigarette...smoke just one bowl...take just one pill? Of course, some kids will admire you for sticking by your beliefs (and that's a great feeling!), but even those who look up to you might decide you're a little too "good" for their group. There has to be a way to do what's right and still "fit in," right?

Right!...In fact, I've seen it done!! Of course, it isn't always easy. None of this is easy, but you know that better than anyone. You also know that getting through the teenage years without breaking the Word of Wisdom is becoming less common. Right now it's your job to achieve independence, so having friends think you're "controlled" either by your religion or your parents can be pretty hard to take. The truth is, people who can't imagine passing up all that "fun" often assume someone or something else must be making your choices for you, which is pretty annoying—and disrespectful too. You deserve credit for your own choices, good or bad. Besides, you know as well as I do that no one can be forced to obey the Word of Wisdom. (That's one you gotta handle yourself!)

And you CAN handle it yourself. What's more, you can handle it well, but there's a catch. You have to really want it. What's more, you have to know why you want it. This kind of knowing demands information, and this Mormon Life series is one person's attempt to collect and supply some. I hope you'll find the facts, true experiences, and ideas in these Word of Wisdom columns a useful resource. Your decision, as always, will be up to you. Make it thoughtfully, even prayerfully, because you deserve the best life has to offer, now and forever.

Next up in the "Word of Wisdom" series, "The Pressure: Part 1"....Nauvoo Hotels

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