Word of Wisdom

Table of Contents

The Word of Wisdom

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The people there are living in the United Order, as also in Brigham City and St. Joseph, and while I was in those settlements I never heard an oath, I never saw a quarrel, I never saw any man or boy smoke a cigarette, or use an ounce of tobacco, or drink whiskey, or drink a cup of coffee or tea, except what I drank myself. The idea of drinking coffee where nobody else was drinking it was a very poor example, I thought, for an Apostle; I therefore took, instead of coffee, water and milk, and have felt a great deal better. The promise is that those who keep the Word of Wisdom "shall run and not be weary, shall walk and not faint," and I can say I have enjoyed much better health than before.
Wilford Woodruff, Conference Report 1880, 11. off-site "

Changes in the way the Word of Wisdom was implemented over time

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Joseph Smith and the Word of Wisdom

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Brigham Young and the Word of Wisdom

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Modern day implementation of the Word of Wisdom

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Handbook 2: "The only official interpretation of “hot drinks” (D&C 89:9) in the Word of Wisdom is the statement made by early Church leaders that the term “hot drinks” means tea and coffee"

Handbook 2: Administering the Church—2010 (Intellectual Reserve, 2010):

The only official interpretation of “hot drinks” (D&C 89:9) in the Word of Wisdom is the statement made by early Church leaders that the term “hot drinks” means tea and coffee. Members should not use any substance that contains illegal drugs. Nor should members use harmful or habit-forming substances except under the care of a competent physician. |publication=Handbook 2: Administering the Church—2010 (Intellectual Reserve, 2010). [1]


Revelations in Context: "Nevertheless, it required time to wind down practices that were so deeply ingrained in family tradition and culture"

"The Word of Wisdom: D&C 89," Revelations in Context on history.lds.org (11 June 2013):

Nevertheless, it required time to wind down practices that were so deeply ingrained in family tradition and culture, especially when fermented beverages of all kinds were frequently used for medicinal purposes. The term “strong drink” certainly included distilled spirits like whiskey, which hereafter the Latter-day Saints generally shunned. They took a more moderate approach to milder alcoholic beverages like beer and “pure wine of the grape of the vine of your own make” (see D&C 89:6). For the next two generations, Latter-day Saint leaders taught the Word of Wisdom as a command from God, but they tolerated a variety of viewpoints on how strictly the commandment should be observed. This incubation period gave the Saints time to develop their own tradition of abstinence from habit-forming substances. By the early twentieth century, when scientific medicines were more widely available and temple attendance had become a more regular feature of Latter-day Saint worship, the Church was ready to accept a more exacting standard of observance that would eliminate problems like alcoholism from among the obedient. In 1921, the Lord inspired Church president Heber J. Grant to call on all Saints to live the Word of Wisdom to the letter by completely abstaining from all alcohol, coffee, tea, and tobacco. Today Church members are expected to live this higher standard.[2]

Notes

  1. "Selected Church Policies and Guidelines 21.3.11," Handbook 2: Administering the Church—2010 (Intellectual Reserve, 2010), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
  2. "The Word of Wisdom: D&C 89," Revelations in Context on history.lds.org (11 June 2013)