Question: Why did Joseph Fielding Smith say that the consumption of tea may bar someone from the celestial kingdom?

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Question: Why did Joseph Fielding Smith say that the consumption of tea may bar someone from the celestial kingdom?

Critics count on "presentism"—they hope readers will judge historical figures by the standards of our day, instead of their day

Critics of the Church wish to emphasize that there is a "contradiction" in which one prophet says tea can prevent exaltation, while another prophet—Joseph Smith—is recorded as drinking tea. However, in contrast with Joseph Smith's day, more than a hundred years has passed since church leaders implemented a more stringent application of the Word of Wisdom. Thus, Joseph Fielding Smith's remarks apply to those under the current standards and laws. D&C 89 was clear that the revelation was from God, but it was not made a commandment or "point of fellowship" until the twentieth century.

The Word of Wisdom was enforced differently in the 19th century than today

The Word of Wisdom was not the strict test of fellowship in the 19th century Church that it is for the modern member. Members and leaders struggled with its application, and leaders of the Church were clear that while the Lord expected perfect adherence to the Word of Wisdom as an ideal, he was also patient and understanding of everyone—leader and member—who struggled to alter their habits.

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