As a high school teacher I receive many questions each day at work. Some questions apply directly to what we are studying and others come from some far recesses of the human brain which is full of cobwebs, chains, and is boarded up with a huge "Off Limits" sign. While I love questions that are thoughtful and directly relate to the subject at hand, the random questions have their own merit, at times, which I can appreciate (more so if they are asked before or after class). One such question was offered up before class today. . . this question was a first for me. . .
[Scene: Mr. Hall's classroom. Mr. Hall is at the back of the classroom, stapling updated grades to the wall. A student approaches]
STUDENT: Mr. Hall, I have a question for you.
MR. HALL: Alright, let's hear it.
STUDENT: You're Mormon, right?
MR. HALL: Yes.
STUDENT: Is the Mormon Bible the same as the Bible?
MR. HALL: Yes, Mormon's use the same Bible as Christians.
STUDENT: But I thought you have your own Bible?
MR. HALL: We have the Book of Mormon which we use in connection with the Bible, but we have the exact same Old and New Testament that you will find in any Christian church.
STUDENT: O, good, 'cause I've got a question.
MR. HALL: Alright. . .
STUDENT: Does the Bible say that it is okay to smoke marijuana?
MR. HALL: No!
STUDENT: Yes, it does!
MR. HALL (With a dumbfounded look on his face): What?
STUDENT: God tells Adam and Eve that they can partake of any tree other than the knowledge of good and evil.
MR. HALL: Yes, God says that they may eat any fruit from the trees in the Garden of Eden other than the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He says nothing about marijuana.
STUDENT: But God says we can partake of any tree.
MR. HALL: He instructed Adam and Eve that they could eat of the fruit of the trees. God did not say they could smoke it.
STUDENT: Yes He did.
MR. HALL: No, He didn't. You need to read your New Testament, particularly the words of Paul, which tells us not to do anything that will harm our bodies.
STUDENT: But marijuana doesn't harm our bodies.
MR. HALL: Yes, it does.
STUDENT: No it doesn't.
MR. HALL: Well, the bell is about to ring and I need you to take you seat.
So, let me clarify a few things before people get their underwear all tied up in knots. First, for those of you who may be thinking, "Why is a teacher discussing religion in school?" Well, I was not the one who brought it up. I was simply answering a student's question, which is okay to do. Additionally, it was not during instructional time, nor presented before the class. Furthermore, I was not promoting any religion--I was simply referring to a belief-set that the student had acknowledged of his own accord. Alright, now that I have covered my butt from any progressive radicals who wish to perform a witch hunt and get me fired because of their misunderstood conception of "Separation of Church and State," let me continue.
While I know that this particular student will never read this blog, I do wish to present a brief case to support my position in the event that any of my readers might actually agree with the student's position that the Bible says it is alright to smoke marijuana.
The Biblical reference that the student uses to supposedly support his position is Genesis 2:16-17, which states: "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Notice, the operative verb is to eat, not to smoke. Furthermore, we must understand that this commandment was specifically given to Adam and Eve, not all of humanity, and it applied specifically to the Garden of Eden, not the world at large. I have no idea what type of plant-life was growing in the Garden of Eden, but I don't think that marijuana was one of them. And even if it was, I do not believe that they were eating or smoking it. Sorry to burst your bubble, but, yes, according to the Bible, Adam and Eve actually spoke with God--it wasn't a pipe-dream!
Furthermore, the New Testament is replete with scriptures speaking of the virtues of temperance and soberness (see 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; Romans 14:21; Titus 1:8; Titus 2:2, and etc.). Granted, when read in context many of these scriptures are referring to specific people or callings, but many can be extended to people at large. Needless to say, as much as one may wish to bend the Word of God to justify sin and destruction, the reality is quite the opposite. Stay off the MJ and any other drugs and you will probably get a better interpretation from your scriptures.