The other day I was wondering where breaking the Word of Wisdom ranks among the “thou shalt nots”. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints(LDS) I believe in keeping the Word of Wisdom (WoW) which forbids coffee, tea, alcohol, and tobacco. It’s not that the forbidden hold any interest for me, I was just wondering. Like when you’re little and you wonder if you can jump off the garage roof without injury. (Answer: Usually, unless it’s the neighbor’s taller garage and your knee hits you in the mouth.)
When compared to the Big Ten, it seems like the WoW might be commandment 9.5, right between lying and coveting. Not the most serious in my book, but bad enough to keep you out of paradise. A “friend of a friend” keeps a pack of cigarettes in his glove box. If he feels the inkling of an impending church assignment he asks the Bishop to go for a ride and then asks for a map—strangely, no calling ever comes.
By the smell, everyone knows when someone has been smoking. To demonstrate our collective error we often shun someone who has so obviously transgressed—but what if every sin had a unique odor? I know it would make Bishop’s interviews easy. “What’s that I smell Brother Green, a hint of pornography?” The Bishop could schedule appointments just by walking the hallway with an appointment book. “Sister Smith, I smell that you’ve been gossiping again, can you meet me on Wednesday? Brother Jones, I detect the scent of stealing, how’s 8:00?”
What if we had the power to assign an odor to each of the Commandments? Thou Shalt Not Kill would be easy, it would smell like a rotting carcass—I can’t think of a worse smell. Adultery (fornication, pornography, etc.) would smell nearly as bad, perhaps like a pig farm. Stealing would smell like a skunk, Sabbath breaking would smell like a swamp, and so on.
My point is that we all sin—but some sins aren’t as odoriferous as others. But just in case, I’m using Irish Spring in the shower today and looking for that 16-year-old bottle of cologne that I bought before I was married. That should do it.