The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Politics

January 5, 2013

Crapo's DUI plea could tarnish clean image

(Continued)

Hatch described Crapo as being under tremendous stress leading up to the incident, saying that "the man has more on his plate than most senators," but he emphasized that Crapo "will make it right" and "I'll be there for him."

Crapo had been explicit about his teetotaling in the past. When he sponsored a bill to cut taxes on small beer brewers in 2010, he made a point of framing his measure as a support of businesses, not breweries, telling the Associated Press that he abstained from alcohol but would celebrate the bill's passage with a root beer. On Friday, Crapo pointedly called himself a "lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is well-known for its standards against consumption of alcohol."

The Mormon ban on alcohol stems from Section 89 of Doctrine and Covenants, one of the faith's holy scriptures. It documents the revelation, known as the "Word of Wisdom," that the religion's prophet Joseph Smith received in Kirtland, Ohio, on Feb. 27, 1833. (Church lore holds that Smith's wife, Emma, had been complaining about the brethren's smoking and drinking.) The revelation touts fruits and vegetables but reads "inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good" and "tobacco is not for the body" and "hot drinks are not for the body or belly."

The ban has both theological and historical underpinnings. Mormons believe that God has a physical body, and thus the human body is not merely a vessel for the soul but a tabernacle to which it is forever bound. Professor Richard Bushman, a prominent Mormon historian, noted that the period during which Smith received his revelation coincided with temperance movements started in reaction to the era's rampant alcohol abuse.

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