A new revelation:
Called “a Word of Wisdom” in the introduction, the revelation was given to Joseph Smith at Kirtland, Ohio, on February 27, 1833, when the School of the Prophets was meeting at his home in the Whitney Store. It came in response to the Prophet’s inquiry about tobacco, which was being used by some of the men attending the school. The revelation states that it is specifically for the latter days because of “evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men” (D&C 89:4).
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1-4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 1584.
Word of Wisdom as scripture:
The revelation was first printed in December 1833 or January 1834 on a broadsheet and was included in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants.
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1-4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow (New York: Macmillan, 1992
Canonized on 17 August 1835:
A conference of the Church in Kirtland was called for 17 August 1835. In this conference the Saints were to vote on this edition of the revelations and accept them as scripture. Prior to this conference, reference was made to the compilation by title, section, part, and paragraph by the Prophet Joseph Smith. Since the book did not return from the bindery at Cleveland until mid-September, the Prophet must have been using unbound pages from the book itself. Such copies also must have been given to priesthood quorum leaders to peruse; for in the conference several of them testified of the truth and correctness of the revelations and the “Lectures on Faith,” because they had read them all or in part. Based on these testimonies, the whole conference assembled voted as quorums and as general church membership in favor of accepting the book as arranged. Two other documents were voted on by the congregation to be put into the publication, and unanimously accepted. The original minutes of this conference are found in the Kirtland Council Minute Book. These minutes were then published in the Latter-day Saint Messenger and Advocate, and they were also included in the Doctrine and Covenants.
The whole compilation was then sent to Cleveland, Ohio to be bound. William W. Phelps recorded that the book was available by the second week in September. Shortly after that, Orson Pratt and others, as missionaries, distributed them in the branches of the Church.
Robert L. Millet and Kent P. Jackson, eds., Studies in Scripture, Vol. 1: The Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1989], 7.
Definition of “hot drinks” as coffee and tea:
“Joel H. Johnson, with whose family the Prophet was intimate, relates that on a Sabbath day in July (1833) following the giving of the “Word of Wisdom,” when both Joseph and Hyrum Smith were in the stand, the Prophet said to the Saints: “I understand that some of the people are excusing themselves in using tea and coffee, because the Lord only said ‘hot drinks’ in the revelation of the Word of Wisdom. Tea and coffee are what the Lord meant when he said ‘hot drinks.'”
John A. Widtsoe and Leah D. Widtsoe, The Word of Wisdom: A Modern Interpretation [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1937], 85.
Word of Wisdom a commandment:
Although the revelation of the Word of Wisdom was received on 27 February 1833, its acceptance by the individual members of the Church was gradual. On 9 September 1851, some eighteen years after it was given, the Patriarch to the Church, John Smith, delivered a talk to the Saints on the Word of Wisdom. Following his address, President Brigham Young arose and proposed to the general conference that all Saints formally covenant to abstain from tea, coffee, tobacco, whiskey, and “all things mentioned in the Word of Wisdom” (“Minutes of the General Conference,” Millennial Star, 1 Feb. 1852, p.35). The motion was accepted unanimously and became binding as a commandment for all Church members thereafter.
Doctrine & Covenants, Student Manual (Institute), p. 207
Word of Wisdom and admission to the Temple:
In 1921 Church leaders ended years of discussion on interpreting the Word of Wisdom by making adherence to this important principle a requirement for admission to the temple.
James B. Allen and Glen M. Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, 2nd ed., rev. and enl. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1992], 496.
There is no current Church policy that would preclude a bishop issuing a temple recommend to a person who consumes cola beverages.
“Staying Healthy: Welfare Services Suggests How,” Ensign, Jan. 1981, 10