Word of Wisdom/Modern day implementation

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Modern day implementation of the Word of Wisdom

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Question: How is the Word of Wisdom observed in the modern Church?

In more recent times, apostles and prophets have added the use of illegal drugs and misuse of prescription medications to the list of prohibitions

In more recent times, apostles and prophets have added the use of illegal drugs and misuse of prescription medications to the list of prohibitions. [1] The term "hot drinks" is currently officially applied to tea and coffee. [2] Since coffee and tea both contain the stimulant caffeine, a question that sometimes is asked is whether or not the Word of Wisdom prohibits cola drinks. There is no specific prohibition on cola drinks, and this issue is left to an individual's own discretion.

The Word of Wisdom is a fulfillment of prophecy

The Word of Wisdom states that it is given in part because of the "evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days" (DC 89:4). Modern developments have vindicated this prophetic warning.

The Word of Wisdom is a principle of obedience and unity

Furthermore, the Word of Wisdom is a principle of unity, according to Brigham Young:

So we see that almost the very first teachings the first Elders of this Church received were as to what to eat, what to drink, and how to order their natural lives, that they might be united temporally as well as spiritually. This is the great purpose which God has in view in sending to the world, by His servants, the gospel of life and salvation. It will teach us how to deal, how to act in all things, and how to live with each other to become one in the Lord. [3]

Throughout history God’s covenant people have frequently had indicators, or identity markers, which have separated them from the rest of the world

Outward signs are often used to single out God’s covenant people. Such signs have included:

circumcision (Gen. 17:2–14), the Sabbath day (Ex. 31:12–17), endogamy or prohibitions on marriage outside the group (Ezra 10:3), greetings (D&C 88:131-133), and dietary proscriptions, such as the food taboos of Leviticus or the latter-day health code of the Word of Wisdom. [4]

Adherence to the Word of Wisdom is often a mark of a committed Latter-day Saint and is an outward sign of their separation from the world and their participation in the fellowship of God’s covenant people. Non-observance or observance of the Word of Wisdom often reflects one’s commitment (or lack thereof) to their covenants with God as well as a possible indicator as to how one might approach other commandments.

One author noted this tendency when he recalled:

the general perception among young men when I went to high school was that if a girl smoked, she was also more likely to engage in premarital sex. While this was certainly not true in all instances, I know that from the bragging of some misguided boys, the precept was generally accurate. Likewise, those who congregate to consume alcohol, whether at frat parties or bars, are more likely to engage in immoral, illegal, or in general non-typical LDS behavior, than the Church member who doesn’t drink or join others at the bar or party. Many high-school counselors are keenly aware, for instance, that those kids who frequently skip school are more likely to get involved in alcohol, drugs, shop-lifting, and teen pregnancy, and they are more likely not to graduate. It’s a type of group mind-set and approach to life. As the saying goes, “It’s hard to wrestle with pigs, without getting dirty.” The Word of Wisdom helps keep our spiritual and physical bodies unspotted from the filth around us. [5]


Question: Do Mormons who do not eat meat "sparingly" violate the Word of Wisdom?

Just as past members struggled as individuals and a group to keep some parts of the Word of Wisdom, it is arguable that some members today likewise struggle

As with the former members, the Lord is merciful and has not yet created a "standard" for meat consumption—each member and his or her conscience settles the matter with him or herself.

With respect to the question of why we do some things (tend to eat lots of meat) but not others (don't drink tea), the reason for that likely has much to do with the concept of following the counsel of living prophets. The current Church Handbook says "hot drinks" means tea and coffee, and it forbids the use of illegal drugs, even though neither "tea" nor illegal drugs are explicitly mentioned in the Word of Wisdom. Like other scriptures, we rely on guidance from living prophets to help us to know how Doctrine and Covenants Section 89 should be applied in our time. With respect to eating meat sparingly, that remains a "word of wisdom," but, unlike refraining from tea, is not mentioned in the current Handbook and has not been publicly mentioned by any General Authorities for many years.

Joseph Fielding Smith made the following statement with regard to eating meat:

While it is ordained that the flesh of animals is for man's food, yet this should be used sparingly. The wording of this revelation is perfectly clear in relation to this subject, but we do not always heed it. [6]

Thus, each member is encouraged to do better, but as in Joseph Smith's day we ought not to attack or dictate to others. If the Lord is displeased with us individually, he can make his will known by revelation. If He is displeased with the Church as a whole, prophetic authority will give the necessary correction.

The Word of Wisdom was enforced differently in the 19th century than today. It was not the strict test of fellowships 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.

In our day, the Word of Wisdom applies in ways in which it did not for Joseph Smith's era—the modern Word of Wisdom forbids a great many other illegal street drugs that received little attention in the 19th century.


Question: Does the Word of Wisdom prohibit the eating of meat except during periods of winter, cold or famine?

"The Word of Wisdom is not a system of vegetarianism. Clearly, meat is permitted"

D&C 89:12. Flesh Is to Be Used Sparingly

“The Word of Wisdom is not a system of vegetarianism. Clearly, meat is permitted [see D&C 42:18]. Naturally, that includes animal products, less subject than meat to putrefactive and other disturbances, such as eggs, milk, and cheese. These products cannot be excluded simply because they are not mentioned specifically. By that token most of our foodstuffs could not be eaten.” (Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, 3:156–57.)

D&C 89:13. “Only in Times of Winter, or of Cold, or Famine”

This verse has caused some to ask if meat should be eaten in the summer. Meat has more calories than fruits and vegetables, which some individuals may need fewer of in summer than winter. Also, before fruits and vegetables could be preserved, people often did not have enough other food to eat in winter. Spoiled meat can be fatal if eaten, and in former times meat spoiled more readily in summer than winter. Modern methods of refrigeration now make it possible to preserve meat in any season. The key word with respect to the use of meat is sparingly (D&C 89:12). [7]


Question: Is it true that Mormons are forbidden from drinking cola drinks such as Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper?

Many members of the Church choose to abstain from cola drinks as part of their personal application of the Word of Wisdom, however, the use of cola products does not result in a restriction of Church privileges

Many members of the Church choose to abstain from cola drinks as part of their personal application of the Word of Wisdom. But, use of cola products per se does not result in a restriction of Church privileges, while the use of coffee, tea, tobacco, alcohol, or illicit drugs certainly would. Abuse of caffeine (or any other drug or substance) would, however, certainly contradict the spirit and intent of the Word of Wisdom.

Spencer W. Kimball made his own and the Church's view of cola drinks clear:

I never drink any of the cola drinks and my personal hope would be that no one would. However, they are not included in the Word of Wisdom in its technical application. I quote from a letter from the secretary to the First Presidency, 'But the spirit of the Word of Wisdom would be violated by the drinking or eating of anything that contained a habit-forming drug.' With reference to the cola drinks, the Church has never officially taken any attitude on this at but I personally do not put them in the class as with the tea and coffee because the Lord specifically mentioned them [the hot drinks].[8]

Bruce R. McConkie observed:

Some unstable people become cranks...There is no prohibition in Section 89 as to the eating of white sugar, cocoa, chocolate...or anything else except items classified under tea, coffee, tobacco and liquor. If some particular food disagrees with an individual, then that person should act accordingly without reference to the prohibitions in this particular law of health.[9]

President Heber J. Grant was encouraged to forbid cola drinks officially, but declined to do so:

On October 15, 1924, representatives of the Coca-Cola Company called on President Grant to complain that non-Mormon Dr. T. B. Beatty, state Health Director, was using the church organization to assist in an attack on Coca-Cola. They asked President Grant to stop him, but he refused at first, saying that he himself had advised Mormons not to drink the beverage. Beatty, however, had been claiming that there was four to five times as much caffeine in Coke as in coffee, when in fact, as the representatives showed, there were approximately 1.7 grains in a cup of coffee and approximately .43 grains or about a fourth as much in a equivalent amount of Coke. After a second meeting, President Grant said that he was "sure I have not the slightest desire to recommend that the people leave Coca-Cola alone if this amount is absolutely harmless, which they claim it is." Beatty, however, insisted that he would still recommend against its use by children. The question was left unresolved, and evidence indicates that while the First Presidency has taken no official stand on the use of cola drinks, some members urge abstinence.[10]

The Ensign included a wise caution in Dec 2008:

...the Word of Wisdom does not specifically prohibit caffeine. However, I believe that if we follow the spirit of the Word of Wisdom we will be very careful about what we consume, particularly any substance that can have a negative impact on our bodies. This is true regarding any drug, substance, or even food that may be damaging to one's health. This includes caffeine.[11]

Official statement of policy from the First Presidency regarding cola drinks

An official statement of policy from the First Presidency is available:

With reference to cola drinks, the Church has never officially taken a position on this matter, but the leaders of the Church have advised, and we do now specifically advise, against the use of any drink containing harmful habit-forming drugs under circumstances that would result in acquiring the habit. Any beverage that contains ingredients harmful to the body should be avoided.[12]

The Church Handbook of Instructions: "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"

The 2010 Church Handbook of Instructions notes:

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.[13]

See also: Thomas J. Boud, MD, "The Energy Drink Epidemic," Ensign, December 2008. off-site


Question: If Mormons don't drink coffee and tea because it contains caffeine, then why do they consume other products which contain caffeine?

While avoiding caffeine is a legitimate reason for avoiding coffee and tea, it is not the only reason nor is it necessarily the reason the Lord had in mind in giving the revelation

It is claimed that "most Mormons" feel that coffee and tea are prohibited because they contain caffeine. However, it is irrelevant what "most Mormons" claim as their reason for avoiding coffee and tea. The Word of Wisdom itself gives no indication of the reasons these substances are to be avoided—it only states that they should be. While avoiding caffeine is a legitimate reason for avoiding coffee and tea, it is not the only reason nor is it necessarily the reason the Lord had in mind in giving the revelation.

A study printed in the International Journal of Cancer recently reported these startling findings: Drinking very hot beverages appears to raise the risk of esophageal cancer by as much as four times. The researchers analyzed results from five studies involving nearly three thousand people. The study found that hot beverages did increase the cancer risk. The study provided evidence of a link between esophageal cancer induced by the consumption of very hot drinks.[14] Another report by Swiss researchers found that a component in coffee (chlorogenic acid) actually destroyed much of the body's thiamin after one quart of coffee was consumed in three hours.[15] Other reported effects of drinking coffee are more controversial and have yet to be firmly proven.[16] At any rate, it is clear that just because "most Mormons" avoid coffee and tea due to concerns about caffeine, the presence of the stimulant is not the only reason the Lord may have invoked a prohibition against these substances.


Question: Why are "hot drinks" forbidden by the Word of Wisdom?

Members of the Church keep the Word of Wisdom because they are obedient to the commandments of God

Members of the Church keep the Word of Wisdom because they are obedient to the commandments of God. The Word of Wisdom is one sign of their membership in the covenant.

Historical circumstances at the time of Joseph Smith may have given a wider application to cautions against "hot drinks" than the current policy

Historical circumstances at the time of Joseph Smith may have given a wider application to cautions against "hot drinks" than the current policy. If true, this demonstrates the pattern by which Joseph claimed the Church should always be governed: "by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed."[17]

According to the Church Administration Handbook:

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.
—Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Handbook 2: Administering the Church—2010 (Intellectual Reserve, 2010). Selected Church Policies and Guidelines 21.3.11

The only revealed answer to the question of why hot drinks (interpreted at present as coffee and tea) are prohibited by the Word of Wisdom is "because God told us they are"

The only revealed answer to the question of why hot drinks (interpreted at present as coffee and tea) are prohibited by the Word of Wisdom is "because God told us they are." Faithful members of the Church accept the revelations recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants as scripture, as sustained by a personal witness of the Holy Spirit.

Some members have pointed out that caffeine is contained in both coffee and tea, and that this substance has potential harmful effects.[18]

While the only official application of the term "hot drinks" is to tea and coffee,[19] an official statement of policy from the First Presidency is available, in which the use of any habit-forming drug is discouraged:

With reference to cola drinks, the Church has never officially taken a position on this matter, but the leaders of the Church have advised, and we do now specifically advise, against the use of any drink containing harmful habit-forming drugs under circumstances that would result in acquiring the habit. Any beverage that contains ingredients harmful to the body should be avoided.[20]

Such principles have led some members to include other caffeine-contained substances, such as cola drinks, in their application of the Word of Wisdom. But, use of cola products does not result in a restriction of Church privileges, while the use of coffee, tea, tobacco, alcohol, or illicit drugs certainly would.

It is a common misconception, among both members and non-members, that the Word of Wisdom exists primarily, or only, to promote the health of the members

It is a common misconception, among both members and non-members, that the Word of Wisdom exists primarily, or only, to promote the health of the members. Health protection is an important "side benefit," one might say, but arguably the most important reason for the Word of Wisdom is the promise given in the last verse of D&C 89, in which the members are told:

And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them.(D&C 89:21)

This refers to the last curse put on the Egyptians prior to the Exodus from Egypt. The Israelites were to mark their houses with lamb's blood at the first Passover. Houses so marked were protected from the "destroying angel." (See Exodus 12:1-30.)

Is lamb's blood "magic?" Does it repel angels like garlic does vampires? Hardly. Rather, we understand the blood to be a symbol of the covenant between God and Israel, and Christians understand it to be a foreshadowing of the culmination of that covenant as the blood of Jesus Christ protects from sin and destruction those who enter into a covenant with Him.

Thus, the Word of Wisdom functions in a similar way—it "marks us" as people under covenant to God. Consumption of coffee and tea is a common practice in many cultures—when others notice a member of the Church abstaining, it sets them apart as willing to forgo something that is culturally popular. This reinforces our duty to keep our covenants in both our own minds and in the eyes of others.

Some historical factors provide grounds for speculation about possible health and non-health reasons for the scripture's "hot drinks" prohibition

Orthodox medical care in Joseph Smith's day was based around what was called a "heroic" tradition. This school of thought went back to Galen, and invoked the four humours of yellow bile, black bile, phlegm, and blood. Disease was thought to be caused by an "imbalance" in these humours, and treatment aimed to restore the balance. In practice this was often done through blood-letting (bleeding) and purging (inducing vomiting and/or diarrhea).

The agent of choice for the orthodox physicians was calomel, or mercurous chloride. This treatment was popularized by Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, who treated victims of a yellow fever epidemic with it. When some patients survived both the yellow fever and Rush's misguided attmept to "treat" them with calomel and bleeding, he wrote a book that influenced medical practice in the United States for over a century. This doctrine was firmly in place in Joseph Smith's day.[21]

A heroic physician treated Joseph's older brother, Alvin, for an attack of "bilious colic" (likely acute appendicitis). Lucy Mack Smith recorded the outcome:

Alvin was taken very sick with the bilious colic. He came to the house in much distress, and requested his father to go immediately for a physician. He accordingly went, obtaining one by the name of Greenwood, who, on arriving, immediately administered to the patient a heavy dose of calomel. I will here notice, that this Dr. Greenwood was not the physician commonly employed by the family; he was brought in consequence of the family physician's absence. And on this account, as I suppose, Alvin at first refused to take the medicine, but by much persuasion, he was prevailed on to do so. This dose of calomel lodged in his stomach, and all the medicine afterwards freely administered by four very skillful physicians could not remove it. On the third day of his sickness, Dr. McIntyre, whose services were usually employed by the family, as he was considered very skillful, was brought, and with him four other eminent physicians. But it was all in vain, their exertions proved unavailing, just as Alvin said would be the case--he told them the calomel was still lodged in the same place, after some exertion had been made to carry it off, and that it must take his life.[22]

Such failures of heroic medicine predisposed the Smiths (with many of their contemporaries) to skepticism about orthodox "heroic" medicine.

Another medical system arose in the early 1800s: Thompsonian herbalism. Thompson patented his system, and opposed the heroics' measures—however, in many cases, his treatments were little better. Rather than using calomel, he used lobelia, or "wild Indian tobacco" as a cathartic and purgative. One could become a Thompsonian "doctor" simply by paying a $20.00 license fee to use Thompson's patents. Prominent Thompsonian physicians associated with the Latter-day Saints included Frederick G. Williams, Thomas B. Marsh, Sampson Avard, and Willard, Levi, and Phineas Richards.[23]

Joseph tended to use the Thompsonian physicians more than the orthodox, but he preached caution in the use of both calomel and lobelia:

Calomel doctors will give you calomel to cure a sliver in the big toe; and they do not stop to know whether the stomach is empty or not; and calomel on an empty stomach will kill the patient. And the lobelia [herbal] doctors will do the same. Point me out a patient and I will tell you whether calomel or lobelia will kill him or not, if you give it.[24]

Furthermore, many of the orthodox physicians in the Church—including John C. Bennett, William Law, and Robert Foster—were eventually to attack Joseph. And, Thompsonian opposition to the use of such drugs as quinine prevented an effective remedy from being used by the Saints.[25]

The herbal medications of the Thompsonians and orthodox physicians were generally administered by "percolating one pound of crude botanical with one pint of alcohol; teas were similarly prepared."[26]

Some have suggested, then, that the Lord's caution against "hot drinks" was a warning against the use of some of the extreme treatments advocated by the Thompsonian herbalists. The presence of Thompsonianism can be noted in the Word of Wisdom, which remarks that "tobacco is not good for the belly." This strikes the modern reader as strange—who would actually eat tobacco? But, in Joseph Smith's day, large doses of lobelia teas were consumed in order to induce purging.

This reading is perhaps supported by the fact that a Times and Seasons account of a discourse by Hyrum Smith said:

Again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly. There are many who wonder what this can mean, whether it refers to tea or coffee, or not. I say it does refer to tea and coffee.[27]

If there was confusion about the meaning of "hot drinks," it may be that at least some members understood the caution against hot drinks to extend to other beverages prepared hot, such as the infusions or teas of the heroics or Thompsonians.

On the other hand, Thompson himself sometimes referred to tea and coffee as "hot drinks," so the choice of wording may simply reflect common "medical" terminology in Joseph Smith's environment.[28]

In any case, the understanding that tea and coffee were intended by the term "hot drinks" is evident in the historical record by 1833 and 1834.[29]


Question: Do Mormons really believe that drinking tea (or alcohol, etc.) is "morally wrong"?

The abstinence from tea and coffee is not a moral issue: It is a sign of covenants and promises they have made with God

Mormons don't drink tea regardless of temperature, because they believe God's prophet and the authoritative interpreter today says, "Don't drink tea." It is a sign of covenants and promises they have made.

There is likely nothing inherently morally wrong with drinking tea or cold tea

There is likely nothing inherently morally wrong with drinking tea or cold tea. We could categorize it as a malum prohibitum instead of a malum in se, that is, it's not inherently "evil," only prohibited. Tea and coffee were identified very early on as what was meant by "hot drinks"; temperature was not really the issue.

Members of the Church follow the Word of Wisdom not because of logical or health reasons, but because God, speaking to prophets, has given these instructions

Members of the Church follow the Word of Wisdom not because of logical or health reasons, but because God, speaking to prophets, has given these instructions. Some LDS are confused at the apparent mismatch between the prohibitions as we follow them today and the text of D&C 89, but the underlying reason has to do with the fact that LDS are not Protestants. We are more like Catholics and Jews, in the sense that authority is not ultimately vested in books, but in living interpreters and the tradition of interpretation. For LDS, these are obviously the prophets and apostles, for Catholics the pope and magisterium, and for Jews, the Rabbis and Talmud. Ultimately, what is binding on LDS is not the text, either of the Bible or uniquely LDS scriptures, but how they are interpreted today by living apostles and prophets.

This perspective is explored in numerous quotations from LDS leaders.

It is refreshing that this point has been understood by at least one Evangelical author:

It is important to underscore here the way in which the Mormon restoration of these ancient offices and practices resulted in a very significant departure from the classical Protestant understanding of religious authority. The subtlety of the issues at stake here is often missed by us Evangelicals, with the result that we typically get sidetracked in our efforts to understand our basic disagreements with Mormon thought. We often proceed as if the central authority issue to debate with Mormons has to do with the question of which authoritative texts ought to guide us in understanding the basic issues of life. We Evangelicals accept the Bible alone as our infallible guide while, we point out, the Latter-day Saints add another set of writings, those that comprise the Book of Mormon, along with the records of additional Church teachings to the canon- we classic Protestants are people of the Book while Mormons are people of the Books.

This way of getting at the nature of our differences really does not take us very far into exploring some of our basic disagreements. What we also need to see is that in restoring some features of Old Testament Israel, Mormonism has also restored the kinds of authority patterns that guided the life of Israel. The old Testament people of God were not a people of the Book as such- mainly because for most of their history, there was no completed Book. Ancient Israel was guided by an open canon and the leadership of the prophets. And it is precisely this pattern of communal authority that Mormonism restored. Evangelicals may insist that Mormonism has too many books. But the proper Mormon response is that even these Books are not enough to give authoritative guidance to the present-day community of the faithful. The books themselves are products of a prophetic office, an office that has been reinstituted in these latter days. People fail to discern the full will of God if they do not live their lives in the anticipation that they will receive new revealed teachings under the authority of the living prophets."[30]


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.


Question: How does the fact that Jesus drank wine relate to the Word of Wisdom?

Jesus (and other people in the Old and New Testaments) drank fermented wine

Yes, Jesus (and other people in the Old and New Testaments) drank fermented wine. Unlike us today, they were not under any commandment not to do so.

The Word of Wisdom is a law specifically given to the Saints in the last days: It is not a universal or natural law

The Word of Wisdom is a law specifically given to the Saints in the last days (D&C 89:4). It is not a universal or natural law—like God's law against murder—that applies to all mankind in all ages. The Word of Wisdom does not apply to non-Latter-day Saints (D&C 89:3), and it did not apply to the Lord's covenant people before the restoration of the Gospel in the last days. It is a circumstantial commandment: One that is given to a particular people at a particular time and place. So it was not "wrong" for the Savior and his apostles to drink fermented wine at the Last Supper, or at the wedding at Cana, or in other circumstances.

In fact, the Word of Wisdom was initially given to the restored Church "not by commandment or constraint" (D&C 89:2) as, essentially, "divine advice." The early Latter-day Saints didn't live it as strictly as we do. (Joseph Smith and his companions drank a bit of wine in Carthage Jail to revive their spirits.) Acting under inspiration, later Church leaders gradually gave the Word of Wisdom more emphasis, until living it became a requirement for a temple recommend in the 1920s under President Heber J. Grant.

The Word of Wisdom is a commandment specifically given to us, "in consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days" (D&C 89:4). These conspiracies didn't exist in Jesus' time, and have only recently become a serious problem, as advertising and marketing of alcohol makes it look "fun," but ignores the serious effects of alcoholism, spouse and child abuse, drunk driving, and so forth.


Question: In what way did Joseph Smith implement the Word of Wisdom during his lifetime?

Joseph Smith never interpreted the Word of Wisdom revelation as demanding total abstinence

The Word of Wisdom was enforced differently in the 19th century than today. Observance of the Word of Wisdom has changed over time, due to on-going revelation from modern-day prophets, who put greater emphasis on certain elements of the revelation originally given to Joseph Smith. Early Latter-day Saints were not under the same requirements as today's Saints are.

Latter-Day Saints believe that the Lord reveals his will to men "line upon line, precept upon precept," (Isaiah 28:10,13 and others) and that revelation continues as circumstances change.

As one historian noted:

it appears clear that Joseph Smith never interpreted the [Word of Wisdom] revelation as demanding total abstinence, but stressed moderation and self-control....He had no objections to using tobacco for medicinal purposes. With regard to wine and "strong drink" possibly the most accurate index to the Prophet's position was expressed by Benjamin F. Johnson, who personally knew Joseph: "As a companion, socailly, he was highly endowed; was kind, generous, mirth loving, and a times even convivial. He was partial to a well supplied table and he did not always refuse the wine that maketh the heart glad."[31]

Beer, unfermented or lightly fermented wine, and cider were considered "mild drinks" by some and therefore acceptable under at least some circumstances

The text of the Word of Wisdom forbids "strong drink" (D&C 89:5,7), which some (including Joseph) seem to have interpreted as distilled beverages (hard liquor). Beer, unfermented or lightly fermented wine, and cider were considered "mild drinks" by some (D&C 89:17) and therefore acceptable under at least some circumstances (note that verse 17 specifically permits "barley...for mild drinks"). One historian notes that the degree of rigor with which early Saints observed the Word of Wisdom varied:

[23] While the Saints opposed the common use of tea [24] and coffee, it would appear that they had little objection to its occasional use for medicinal purposes. In an age when these items were frequently used as a relief for a wide variety of ailments, it would have been imprudent to have entirely forbidden their use....

[25] The journal of Joseph Smith reveals many instances where Joseph and other Church leaders drank wine and a tolerant attitude towards the consumption of this beverage is particularly noticeable....

[26] Despite the injunction contained in the revelation discouraging the drinking of wine, (except for sacramental purposes) the casual nature of the allusions to this beverage suggest that many Church Authorities did not consider moderate wine drinking in the same category as the use of strong drinks....

Evidence suggests that the drinking of tea, coffee, and liquor was [in the 1830s] in general violation of the principle [of the Word of Wisdom], though exceptions can be found. All of these items were used by the Saints for medicinal purposes. Moderate wine-drinking was evidently acceptable to most Church leaders....[27] In short, it would seem that adherence to the revelation to at least 1839 required Church members to be moderately temperate but certainly [did] not [require] total abstinence....[32]


Question: Did Joseph Smith violate the Word of Wisdom by drinking alcohol in Carthage Jail before he was killed?

The wine is mentioned clearly in the History of the Church: Why would leaders include this information if it made Joseph look bad?

Joseph Smith drank alcohol in Carthage Jail prior to being martyred. Doesn't this make Joseph Smith a hypocrite for violating the Word of Wisdom?

We are sometimes guilty of "presentism"—judging historical figures by the standards of our day, instead of their day. We note that the wine is mentioned clearly in the History of the Church. Why would leaders include this information if it made Joseph look bad? This should be our first clue that something else is going on.[33]

John Taylor: "we sent for some wine. It has been reported by some that this was taken as a sacrament. It was no such thing; our spirits were generally dull and heavy, and it was sent for to revive us"

Consider also that drinking water in Joseph Smith's day (or during Biblical times) was a gamble because water purity was always questionable; a little alcohol in a beverage ensured that it was free of viruses and bacteria. The development of germ theory in the late 19th century lead to chemical treatments to ensure a safe supply of public drinking water. A strict ban of all alcohol in Joseph Smith's time would have been a death sentence for many Latter-day Saints—especially during the 1832–1833 cholera pandemic, which spread its disease by water.

Alcohol was also considered a medicinal substance, and was used with that purpose well into the 19th century. Thus, some wine or brandy use would be seen as "medicinal," rather than "recreational."[34] This perspective is likely reflected in John Taylor's later account of the events at Carthage:

Sometime after dinner we sent for some wine. It has been reported by some that this was taken as a sacrament. It was no such thing; our spirits were generally dull and heavy, and it was sent for to revive us. I think it was Captain Jones who went after it, but they would not suffer him to return. I believe we all drank of the wine, and gave some to one or two of the prison guards. We all of us felt unusually dull and languid, with a remarkable depression of spirits. In consonance with those feelings I sang a song, that had lately been introduced into Nauvoo, entitled, 'A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief', etc.[35]:101

Alcohol was thought to be useful as a stimulant to restore both mood and energy

In a medicinal context, alcohol was thought to be useful as a stimulant to restore both mood and energy. As one history noted:

There was a wide spectrum of views on its use in medicine. At one extreme were those who felt that as alcohol was a stimulant, it should be beneficial in all disease states....A problem for doctors was reconciling that brandy (the most commonly used form of alcohol) seemed to have both stimulant and sedative effects. However it is clear that the emergency use of brandy was as a stimulant [and such use continued into the twentieth century]....For lesser conditions, tonics were much used as stimulants and alcohol was the basis of many of these, the alcohol concentration of which was often greater than that of wine....[34]

In the twenty-first century, a member who used morphine by injection to get high would be regarded as in violation of the Word of Wisdom. But, if they used it under a physician's supervision for a recognized condition for which its use was appropriate, that would be considered in harmony with the Word of Wisdom. Cancer patients, for example, do not lose their temple recommends simply because they require morphine. In a similar way, Joseph and his companions' use of wine prior to the martyrdom obviously did not trouble him or his contemporaries, because they understood their era's medical context.


Question: Did Joseph Smith give some of the brethren money to purchase whiskey in violation of the Word of Wisdom?

The use of whiskey as a stimulant while traveling was allowed, but abusing it by getting drunk was not

Liquor in judicious amounts was used as a medicinal substance, and seen as a stimulant or restorative against fatigue. This is why Joseph "investigated the case"--he wished to know if the use had been acceptable or to excess. (In a similar way, a modern-day Church leader who heard that a member was using morphine might investigate to discover if such use is appropriate--e.g., under a doctor's supervision in proper prescribed amounts for a legitimate ailment--or whether they were abusing it to get "high".)

Here's what Joseph said,

The company moved on to Andover, where the Sheriff of Lee County requested lodgings for the night for all the company. I was put up into a room and locked up with Captain Grover. It was reported to me that some of the brethren had been drinking whiskey that day in violation of the Word of Wisdom.

I called the brethren in and investigated the case, and was satisfied that no evil had been done, and gave them a couple of dollars, with directions to replenish the bottle to stimulate them in the fatigues of their sleepless journey.[36]

The complete prohibition on alcohol was phased in gradually

Critics of the Church who use this quote as evidence that Joseph disregarded the Word of Wisdom also do not inform readers that the complete prohibition on alcohol was a gradual matter, and so Joseph's judgment on the issue was possible (which explains why no one at the time was shocked or outraged by it). Later nineteenth century Mormons, such as Brigham Young, understood the matter in the same way, and also distinguished between the excessive and judicious use of spirits.


Question: Does the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints own stock in businesses that are not consistent with the Church's standards?

The Church does not refuse to accept any lawfully traded security based on the products they sell, because all such donations are treated equally: They are sold

Some claim that the Church, as a corporate entity, controls business properties that are not consistent with its stated purposes. Examples include:

  • claims that the Church owns controlling stock in the Coca-Cola company
  • claims that the Church owns stock in tobacco companies
  • claims that the Church owns stock in alcohol companies

It may be technically true that for a few minutes, hours, or days, the Church has been at least part owner of some companies whose products or behavior does not match the Church's interests or standards. However, such claims as used by critics are designed to mislead, since the Church did not seek interest in any such company, and sells its interest as soon as it acquires it.

The Church does not refuse to accept any lawfully traded security based on the products they sell, because all such donations are treated equally—they are sold.

The Church has what is called the "donations in kind" office that manages issues related to real estate, stocks and bonds, and other "non-cash" contributions

The Church has what is called the "donations in kind" office that manages issues related to real estate, stocks and bonds, and other "non-cash" contributions. Interested parties can call Church headquarters and ask to be connected to this department, which will provide frank information about the Church's policy in this area.

It is the Church's practice to automatically liquidate all stocks/bonds provided to the donations in kind office as soon as they can be sold. Any stock donations made to the Church are never held by the Church or its corporations, but are converted into cash and then used for Church purposes.

The church receives a lot of these types of donations because of the favorable tax treatment the donor receives. In the United States, the IRS code allows for an individual who has a long term potential capital gain in a stock (i.e., they have owned it for more than 1 year) to donate the stock to a non-profit organization and receive a tax deductible donation credit against their taxes based on the full value of the holding without having to also recognize the gain and be taxed on the gain.

For example, if you bought stock for $10 and donate when it is worth $110, you get to remove $110 from your taxable earnings (which at the 33% tax bracket benefits you with not paying $36 in taxes). If you had sold the stock and donated the money, you would have had to realize a gain of $100 and had to pay taxes on that ($33), and then you would get the credit for the donation which would offset the gain.

As can be seen, when one can donate without selling, one essentially gets the best of both worlds, and it can result in substantial tax savings, with no loss to the charity to which one is donating. For this reason, estates that make sizeable donations to the Church usually do so with long term capital holdings, like stock, in order to realize the greatest tax benefits. This means that such donations are a very common event in Church finances.

Because the Church can neither control which stocks are donated, nor which stocks are in mutual fund shares that are donated, there have doubtless been times when interest in companies whose products are not in keeping with Church standards have been donated. Furthermore, stock index funds contain investments in all the stocks in that index (such as the Dow Jones Industrials, the S&P 500, and the Willshire 5000). Usually, this includes companies in industries inconsistent with the Church position.

The financial data for every publicly-traded corporation (i.e., a corporation with stock for sale at a stock exchange) is held in the Edgar data base of the Securities and Exchange Commission. This data is publically available on-line, at such sites as:

This data includes a list of "significant shareholders," which are typically those who own >5% of the total stock price. Any critic who claims the Church has on-going interest in a company should prove the claim by providing data showing that the Church indeed holds significant interest.

There have thus been instances in the past where reportable donations were made (>5%), and when the church received and then liquidated the holdings as a matter of public record. Yet, this does not mean that the Church purchased stock in these companies, or had continued to profit from stock held in such companies. The Church merely received a donation, which it liquidated in accordance with its standard financial practices.


Question: Did Joseph Smith set up a bar to sell liquor in Nauvoo?

The Word of Wisdom was not binding on Latter-day Saint members, and was certainly not seen as a requirement for non-members

Joseph's hotel would likely see many travelers who would be non-members, and he may have felt that his supervision would be better able to prevent the abuse and trouble which liquor often brought with it. Despite this, he seems to have gradually decided that the Mormons could not or should not impose their views on abstinence on the entire city and its population.

Emma's concern, notably, does not have anything to do with the Word of Wisdom, but simply that she does not wish her children and home to be associated with the difficulties that came with the liquor trade, and that it looks bad for any religious leader to be in any way associated with something as disreputable as liquor.

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

The Word of Wisdom was enforced differently in the 19th century than today. It was not the strict test of fellowships that it is for the modern member.

Drink was often viewed as a scourge on the nineteenth century frontier

Mayor John C. Bennett's inaugural address sounded this theme:

The 21st Sec. of the addenda to the 13th Sec. of the City Charter concedes to you plenary power "to tax, restrain, prohibit and suppress, tippling houses, dram-shops," etc. etc., and I now recommend, in the strongest possible terms, that you take prompt, strong, and decisive measures to "prohibit and suppress" all such establishments. It is true you have the power "to tax," or license and tolerate, them, and thus add to the city finances; but I consider it much better to raise revenue by an ad valorem tax on the property of sober men, than by licensing dram shops, or taxing the signs of the inebriated worshippers at the shrine of Bacchus. The revels of bacchanalians in the houses of blasphemy and noise will always prove a disgrace to a moral people. Public sentiment will do much to suppress the vice of intemperance, and its concomitant evil results: but ample experience has incontrovertibly proven that it cannot do all -- the law must be brought to the rescue, and an effective prohibitory ordinance enacted. This cannot be done at a better time than at the present. Let us commence correctly, and the great work of reform, at least so far as our peaceful city is concerned, can be summarily consummated. It would be difficult to calculate the vast amount of civil and crime that would be prevented, and the great good that would accrue to the public at large by fostering the cause of temperance; but suffice it to say that the one would be commensurate to the other. -- No sales of spirituous liquors whatever, in a less quantity than a quart, except in cases of sickness on the recommendation of a physician or surgeon duly accredited by the Chancellor and Regents of the University, should be tolerated. The liberty of selling the intoxicating cup is a false liberty -- it enslaves, degrades, destroys, and wretchedness and want are attendant on every step.... [37]

Soon after the Nauvoo charter came into effect, Joseph and the city council "passed an ordinance against vending whiskey in small quantities, effectively restricting the opening of saloons." [38]

It seems this prohibition did not apply to wine

On 12 July 1841, Joseph "was in the City Council, and moved that any person in the City of Nauvoo be at liberty to sell vinous [i.e., of the vine—wine] liquors in any quantity, subject to the city ordinances." [39]

As one historian of Nauvoo noted:

Although Nauvoo was a city of temperate or abstinent Saints, it was also a burgeoning western river town. Doubtless most of its gentiles and many Mormons did not hold prohibitionist views, and the demand for alcohol in its various forms must have been more or less constant. Such pressure is evident in the gradual relaxation of the official attitude toward liquor....

There was apparently never any prohibition on the sale of beer and ale, and on April 9, 1842, the council acted to license taverns and ordinaries in the town to sell beer but not spirits. But on May 14, [Joseph] Smith recorded, "I attended city council in the morning, and…spoke at length for the repeal of the ordinance…licensing merchants, hawkers, taverns, and ordinaries, desiring that this might be a free people, and enjoy equal rights and privileges, and the ordinances were repealed." [40]

On 12 December 1843, the city council in Nauvoo passed a law allowing the mayor (i.e., Joseph) to sell spirits:

Be it ordained by the City Council of Nauvoo, that the Mayor of the city be and is hereby authorized to sell or give spirits of any quantity as he in his wisdom shall judge to be for the health and comfort, or convenience of such travelers or other persons as shall visit his house from time to time. [41]

We note that such sale can include for "health"—some alcoholic use was seen as medicinal. (To learn more about medical beliefs and the Word of Wisdom substances, see here.)

The complete restriction on liquor sales was further relaxed on 16 January 1844, though liquor is still viewed with disapproval:

Whereas, the use and sale of distilled and fermented liquors for all purposes of beverage and drink by persons in health are viewed by this City Council with unqualified disapprobation:

Whereas, nevertheless the aforesaid liquors are considered highly beneficial for medical and mechanical purposes, and may be safely employed for such uses, under the counsel of discreet persons: Therefore,

Sect. 1. Be it ordained by the City Council of the city of Nauvoo. that the Mayor of this city is hereby authorized to sell said liquors in such quantities as he may deem expedient.

Sect. 2. Be it further ordained, that other persons not exceeding one to each ward of the city, may also sell said liquors in like quantities for medical and mechanical purposes by obtaining a license of the Mayor of the city. The above ordinance to be in full force and effect immediately after its passage,—all ordinances to the contrary notwithstanding. [42]

A bar for travelers was set up in Joseph's hotel, the Mansion house, and Emma rejected it due to the type of people it might draw

Joseph Smith III tells of Emma's return from a journey to find the bar in place. As her biographers tell the story:

...Emma entered the main room of the Mansion House on April 24 [, 1843]. A bar, complete with counter, shelves, and glasses for serving liquor stood in the room. [Orin] Porter Rockwell reigned supreme over it. Emma sent her eleven-year-old son into a meeting to tell Joseph she wished to speak with him; she waited in the hall.

"Joseph, what is the meaning of that bar in this house?" Emma asked with restraint obvious to her young son, who later recorded the confrontation. Joseph explained that a new building across the street was planned for Porter Rockwell's bar and barbershop, but until it could be completed Rockwell had set up the bar in the Mansion. "How does it look for the spiritual head of a religious body to be keeping a hotel in which a room is fitted out as a liquor-selling establishment?" she asked earnestly. Joseph countered that all hotels had their bars, the arrangement was only temporary, and he wanted to make up for Rockwell's months in prison. [43]

Rockwell had been jailed for months, and reached Nauvoo in financially desperate straits. Joseph hoped to find a trade for his old friend and bodyguard.

Emma was not persuaded by this argument:

Unconvinced, Emma told Joseph he could hire someone to run the Mansion for him. "As for me," she continued, "I will take my children and go across to the old house and stay there, for I will not have them raised up under such conditions as this arrangement imposes upon us, nor have them mingle with the kind of men who frequent such a place. You are at liberty to make your choice; either that bar goes out of the house, or we will!"...

Joseph answered, "Very well, Emma; I will have it removed at once." Soon a frame structure, designed to house the bar and barbershop, began to rise across the street. [44]

Notes

  1. Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Scourge of Illicit Drugs," Ensign (November 1989), 48. off-site; James E. Faust, "The Enemy Within," Ensign (November 2000), 44. off-site
  2. See, for example, Robert L. Simpson, Conference Report (April 1963), 53.;Boyd K. Packer, Conference Report (April 1963), 107. Early statements available in John A. Widtsoe and Leah D. Widtsoe, The Word Of Wisdom: A Modern Interpretation (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1937), 28 and Roy W. Doxey, The Word of Wisdom Today (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1975),10–13.
  3. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 12:157-158. (italics added)
  4. Wouter Van Beek, "Covenants," in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow, (New York, Macmillan Publishing, 1992), 1:333.
  5. Mike Ash, FAIR e-mail list, 3 September 2006 (cited with permission).
  6. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols., (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954–56), 148.
  7. Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Section 89 The Word of Wisdom off-site
  8. Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982), 202.
  9. Bruce R. McConkie, "Word of Wisdom," in Mormon Doctrine, 2nd edition, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 845–846. GL direct link
  10. Thomas G. Alexander, "The Word of Wisdom: From Principle to Requirement," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 14 no. 3 (Autumn 1981), 84–85.
  11. Thomas J. Boud, MD, "The Energy Drink Epidemic," Ensign (December 2008), 48–52.
  12. Lester E. Bush, Jr., ed., "Mormon Medical Ethical Guidelines," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 12 no. 3 (Fall 1979), 103.
  13. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Handbook 2: Administering the Church—2010 (Intellectual Reserve, 2010). Selected Church Policies and Guidelines 21.3.11
  14. International Journal of Cancer, 88 (15 November 2000): 658–664.
  15. International Journal of Vitamin and Nutritional Research 46 (1976).
  16. An example of this is a study by Dr. Hershel Jick of Boston University Medical School. He found that drinking one to five cups of coffee per day raises the risk of heart attack by as much as 60 percent and drinking more than six cups per day raises the risk by 120 percent. However, other studies have failed to find a connection between heart attack and coffee intake. Other ongoing studies indicate a possible connection between coffee intake and bladder cancer. Coffee has also been tentatively linked to a rise in blood fats, increased adrenal activity, and blood cholesterol and heart action irregularity. Nevertheless, these studies are not conclusive and as such, cannot be authoritatively cited as evidence against coffee drinking. There are, however, other health concerns regarding the excessive or inappropriate use of caffeine. See: Thomas J. Boud, MD, "The Energy Drink Epidemic," Ensign (December 2008), 48–52.
  17. Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 5:135. Volume 5 link See also Dean C. Jessee, The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, revised edition, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 2002), 507–508.
  18. Clifford J. Stratton, "Caffeine—The Subtle Addiction," Ensign (June 1988), 60.
  19. See, for example, Robert L. Simpson, Conference Report (April 1963), 53.;Boyd K. Packer, Conference Report (April 1963), 107. Early statements available in John A. Widtsoe and Leah D. Widtsoe, The Word Of Wisdom: A Modern Interpretation (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1937), 28 and Roy W. Doxey, The Word of Wisdom Today (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1975),10–13.
  20. Lester E. Bush, Jr., ed., "Mormon Medical Ethical Guidelines," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 12 no. 3 (Fall 1979), 103.
  21. Robert T. Divett, "Medicine and the Mormons: a Historical Perspective," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 12 no. 3 (Autumn 1979), 16–17. On
  22. Lucy Mack Smith, The History of Joseph Smith By His Mother Lucy Mack Smith, edited by Preston Nibley, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1956), 86. AISN B000FH6N04.
  23. See N. Lee Smith, "Herbal Remedies: God's Medicine," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 12 no. 3 (Autumn 1979), 40. See also Robert T. Divett, "Medicine and the Mormons: a Historical Perspective," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 12 no. 3 (Autumn 1979), 18–20.
  24. Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 5:356–357. Volume 5 link
  25. N. Lee Smith, "Herbal Remedies: God's Medicine," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 12 no. 3 (Autumn 1979), 43,46.
  26. N. Lee Smith, "Herbal Remedies: God's Medicine," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 12 no. 3 (Autumn 1979), 47.
  27. Hyrum Smith, "The Word of Wisdom," Times and Seasons 3 no. 15 (1 June 1842), 801. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
  28. N. Lee Smith, "Review of Medicine and the Mormons: An Introduction to the History of Latter-day Saint Health Care by Robert T. Divett," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (Spring 1984), 157–158.
  29. Paul H. Peterson, "An Historical Analysis of the Word of Wisdom," Master's thesis, Brigham Young University, 1972, 22-23.
  30. Richard Mouw, "What does God think about America?," Brigham Young University Studies 43 no. 4 (2004), 10-11.  (needs URL / links)
  31. Paul H. Peterson, "An Historical Analysis of the Word of Wisdom," Master's thesis, Brigham Young University, 1972, 38. The cited material is [Letter from BF Johnson to George F. Gibbs, 1903.]
  32. Paul H. Peterson, "An Historical Analysis of the Word of Wisdom," Master's thesis, Brigham Young University, 1972. Page numbers cited within text.
  33. Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 6:616. Volume 6 link
  34. 34.0 34.1 Henry Guly, "Medicinal brandy," Resuscitation 82/7-2 (July 2011): 951–954.
  35. History of the Church. Volume 7 link
  36. Millennial Star 21:283
  37. John C. Bennett, "Inaugural Address. City of Nauvoo, Illinois, Feb. 3rd 1841," Times and Seasons 2 no. 8 (15 February 1841), 316. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.) See also History of the Church, 4:288. Volume 4 link
  38. Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Knopf, 2005), 413. See Anonymous, "Great Moral Victory!," Times and Seasons 2 no. 8 (15 February 1841), 321. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.) See also later law, which read: "That no auctioneer or auctioneers shall sell by auction dry goods or groceries, in lots or parcels of less value than five dollars, or liquors of any kind in less quantities than five gallons...." - Anonymous, "An Ordinance Regulating Actions, in the City of Nauvoo," Times and Seasons 3 no. 9 (1 March 1842), 717. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.) Still later, "That all keepers of ordinaries or taverns, shall be, and they are hereby prohibited from selling spirituous liquors; and any keeper of a tavern or ordinary, who shall sell or permit to be sold, any spiritous liquors, in violation of this prohibition, shall, on conviction, for the first offence, be fined in the sum of twenty dollars, and for the second offence, forfeit his license, which shall be annulled by the Mayor...." - Anonymous, "An Ordinance to regulate Taverns and Ordinaries, in the City of Nauvoo," Times and Seasons 3 no. 12 (15 April 1842), 766. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
  39. History of the Church, 4:383. Volume 4 link
  40. Robert Bruce Flanders, Nauvoo: Kingdom on the Mississippi (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1965), 246.
  41. History of the Church, 6:111. Volume 6 link
  42. History of the Church, 6:178–179. Volume 6 link
  43. Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, 2nd edition, (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1994), 178–179. citing Joseph Smith III, Joseph Smith III and the Restoration, edited by Mary Audentia Smith Anderson (Independence, Missouri: Herald House, 1952), 74–75.
  44. Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, 2nd edition, (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1994), 179.