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Joseph Smith created the "Word Of Wisdom" on February 27, 1833. Years after it was recorded in the History of the Church, it was turned into Doctrine And Covenants Section 89 of current Mormon dogma.
Mormonism And The Word Of Wisdom
Saturday, Apr 8, 2006, at 08:04 AM
Original Author(s): Infymus
Topic: WORD OF WISDOM   -Link To MC Article-
Joseph Smith created the "Word Of Wisdom" on February 27, 1833. Years after it was recorded in the History of the Church, it was turned into Doctrine And Covenants Section 89 of current Mormon dogma.

In DandC 89, Joseph claims that God told him not to drink wine or "strong" drinks, not to partake of tobacco. Joseph also claimed that meat was to be eaten sparingly.

Notice that the Word of Wisdom forbids the use of hot drinks, strong drinks and tobacco. The Mormon Church today interprets hot drinks to mean tea and coffee. It would appear, however, that in the early history of the Church all hot drinks were forbidden. On April 7, 1868, the Mormon Apostle George Q. Cannon stated that chocolate drinks and hot soups were forbidden: "We are told, and very plainly too, that hot drinks--tea, coffee, chocolate, cocoa and all drinks of this kind are not good for man....we must feed our children properly.... We must not permit them to drink liquor or hot drinks, or hot soups or to use tobacco or other articles that are injurious." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 12, pp. 221 and 223)

Even though the revelation uses only the words "hot drinks" the Mormon Church today interprets this to mean drinks that contain caffeine. In other words, the emphasis is no longer on whether the drink is hot or cold, but rather how much caffeine it contains. For example, an article in the Church's Improvement Era condemns the drinking of cola drinks. It stated that a large bottle of cola drink contained approximately the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee.

Chocolate drinks, on the other hand, even though they are hot and contain a small amount of caffeine, are no longer forbidden. The following appeared on the Editorial Page of the Church Section in the Deseret News: "One of the latest efforts to justify drinking coffee is the current propaganda that drinking cocoa or chocolate is against the Word of Wisdom and that cocoa is supposed to contain even more caffeine than does coffee. "It is difficult to understand why some individuals seem to enjoy shocking people with extreme statements, or why they enjoy being the center of attraction so much that they are willing to set forth untruths as though they were facts.... the facts then completely dispel any notion that cocoa or chocolate is as harmful as coffee. Persons who say that those drinking hot chocolate are breaking the Word of Wisdom as effectively as if they drank coffee do not state the truth....

"When interviewing for temple recommends, for instance, or for advancement in the priesthood, or for baptism, or for any other purpose, bishops never inquire as to whether a person drinks cocoa or eats chocolate candy. If the use of cocoa and chocolate were against the doctrine of the Church such inquiry would be made, but it is not." (Deseret News, Editorial Page in the Church News, May 5, 1962)

Although some portions of Joseph Smith's Word of Wisdom are stressed by the Mormon leaders, other portions are almost ignored. The Mormon writer John J. Stewart states: "The admonition to eat little meat is largely ignored, as are some other points of the revelation." (Joseph Smith the Mormon Prophet, p. 90)

In all truth, the Word Of Wisdom is about not drinking hot drinks or cold drinks. It is not about caffeine being good or bad for you. Medical evidence has shown that tea in moderation is healthy. Medical evidence has shown that alcohol in moderation is healthy. No, it has nothing to do with any of it - it is all about obedience. Obey, obey, obey.
The Word Of Wisdom - From Mormonism - Shadow Or Reality by Jerald And Sandra Tanner
Wednesday, Dec 14, 2005, at 09:20 AM
Original Author(s): Jerald And Sandra Tanner
Topic: WORD OF WISDOM   -Link To MC Article-
On February 27, 1833, Joseph Smith gave the revelation known as the "Word of Wisdom." This revelation appears as Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Notice that the Word of Wisdom forbids the use of hot drinks, strong drinks and tobacco. The Mormon Church today interprets hot drinks to mean tea and coffee. It would appear, however, that in the early history of the Church all hot drinks were forbidden. On April 7, 1868, the Mormon Apostle George Q. Cannon stated that chocolate drinks and hot soups were forbidden: "We are told, and very plainly too, that hot drinks--tea, coffee, chocolate, cocoa and all drinks of this kind are not good for man....we must feed our children properly.... We must not permit them to drink liquor or hot drinks, or hot soups or to use tobacco or other articles that are injurious." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 12, pp. 221 and 223)

Even though the revelation uses only the words "hot drinks" the Mormon Church today interprets this to mean drinks that contain caffeine. In other words, the emphasis is no longer on whether the drink is hot or cold, but rather how much caffeine it contains. For example, an article in the Church's Improvement Era condemns the drinking of cola drinks. It stated that a large bottle of cola drink contained approximately the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee.

Chocolate drinks, on the other hand, even though they are hot and contain a small amount of caffeine, are no longer forbidden. The following appeared on the Editorial Page of the Church Section in the Deseret News:
"One of the latest efforts to justify drinking coffee is the current propaganda that drinking cocoa or chocolate is against the Word of Wisdom and that cocoa is supposed to contain even more caffeine than does coffee. "It is difficult to understand why some individuals seem to enjoy shocking people with extreme statements, or why they enjoy being the center of attraction so much that they are willing to set forth untruths as though they were facts.... the facts then completely dispel any notion that cocoa or chocolate is as harmful as coffee. Persons who say that those drinking hot chocolate are breaking the Word of Wisdom as effectively as if they drank coffee do not state the truth.... "When interviewing for temple recommends, for instance, or for advancement in the priesthood, or for baptism, or for any other purpose, bishops never inquire as to whether a person drinks cocoa or eats chocolate candy. If the use of cocoa and chocolate were against the doctrine of the Church such inquiry would be made, but it is not." (Deseret News, Editorial Page in the Church News, May 5, 1962)
Although some portions of Joseph Smith's Word of Wisdom are stressed by the Mormon leaders, other portions are almost ignored. The Mormon writer John J. Stewart states: "The admonition to eat little meat is largely ignored, as are some other points of the revelation." (Joseph Smith the Mormon Prophet, p. 90)


Brigham Young, the second President of the Mormon Church, made the following statements concerning the conditions that led to the giving of the Word of Wisdom:
"I think I am as well acquainted with the circumstances which led to the giving of the Word of Wisdom as any man in the Church, although I was not present at the time to witness them. The first school of the prophets was held in a small room situated over the Prophet Joseph's kitchen,... When they assembled together in this room after breakfast, the first they did was to light their pipes, and, while smoking, talk about the great things of the kingdom, and spit all over the room, and as soon as the pipe was out of their mouths a large chew of tobacco would then be taken. Often when the Prophet entered the room to give the school instructions he would find himself in a cloud of tobacco smoke. This, and the complaints of his wife at having to clean so filthy a floor, made the Prophet think upon the matter, and he inquired of the Lord relating to the conduct of the Elders in using tobacco, and the revelation known as the Word of Wisdom was the result of his inquiry." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 12,p. 158)
David Whitmer, one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon, gave a similar explanation for the origin of the Word of Wisdom. The following appeared in an interview with David Whitmer which was published in the Des Moines Daily News: "...quite a little party of the brethren and sisters being assembled in Smith's house. Some of the men were excessive chewers of the filthy weed, and their disgusting slobbering and spitting caused Mrs. Smith (who, Mr. Whitmer insists, was a lady of predisposed refinement) to make the ironical remark that 'It would be a good thing if a revelation could be had declaring the use of tobacco a sin, and commanding its suppression.' The matter was taken up and joked about, one of the brethren suggesting that the revelation should also provide for a total abstinence from tea and coffee drinking, intending this as a counter 'dig' at the sisters. Sure enough the subject was afterward taken up in dead earnest, and the 'Word of Wisdom' was the result." (The Des Moines Daily News, Saturday, October 16, 1886)

It has been suggested that the temperance movement led to Joseph Smith's "Word of Wisdom." The Mormon writer Leonard J. Arrington gives this interesting information:
"In recent years a number of scholars have contended that the revelation is an outgrowth of the temperance movement of the early nineteenth century. According to Dean D. McBrien, who first expressed this theory, the Word of Wisdom was a remarkable distillation of the prevailing thought of frontier America in the early 1830's. Each provision in the revelation, he claimed, pertained to an item which had formed the basis of widespread popular agitation in the early 1830's:

A survey of the situation existing at Kirtland when the revelation came forth is a sufficient explanation for it. The temperance wave had for some time been engulfing the West. Just a few years before, Robert Owen had abolished the use of ardent spirits in his community at New Harmony. In 1826 Marcus Morton had founded the American Temperance Society, called at first the Cold Water Society by way of contempt. In June, 1830, the Millenial Harbinger quoted in full, and with the hearty personal endorsement of Alexander Campbell, an article from the Philadelphia 'Journal of Health,' which in turn was quoting a widely circulated book. 'The Simplicity of Health,' which article most strongly condemned the use of alcohol, tobacco, theeating intemperately of meats... Temperance Societies were organized in great numbers during the early thirties, six thousand being formed in one year.... On October 6, 1830, the Kirtland Temperance Society was organized with two hundred thirty nine members.... This society at Kirtland was a most active revolutionized the social customs of the neighborhood.

"McBrien then goes ahead to point out that the Temperance Society succeeded in eliminating a distillery in Kirtland on February 1, 1833, just twenty-seven days before the Latter-day Saint revelation counseling abstinence was announced, and that the distillery at Mentor, near Kirtland, was also closed at the same time." (Brigham Young University Studies, Winter 1959, pp. 39-40)
Whitney R. Cross gives this information:
"The temperance movement was larger in every dimension than Burned-over District ultraism. It began much earlier and has not yet ended. During the 1830's it attained national scope... Further, if alcohol was evil because it frustrated the Lord's design for the human body, other drugs like tea, coffee, and tobacco must be equally wrong...Josiah Bissell, the Pioneer Line ultraist, had even before the 1831 revival 'got beyond Temperance to the Cold Water Society--no tea, coffee or any other slops.'" (The Burned-Over District, New York, 1965, pp. 211-212)

The Word of Wisdom is considered to be one of the most important revelations in the Mormon Church. A Mormon who continues to break the Word of Wisdom is considered to be weak in the faith. Breaking the Word of Wisdom is considered a sin which can bar a person from the Temple. In order to get a Temple Recommend a person is required to answer this question: "4. Do you keep the Word of Wisdom?" (Temple Recommend Book) Joseph Fielding Smith, tenth President of the Mormon Church, claims that the habit of drinking tea can "bar" a person from the "celestial kingdom of God":
"Salvation and a cup of brethren, if you drink coffee or tea, or take tobacco, are you letting a cup of tea or a littletobacco stand in the road and bar you from the celestial kingdom of God, where you might otherwise have received a fulness of glory?... There is not anything that is little in this world in the aggregate. One cup of tea, then it is another cup of tea and another cup of tea, and when you get them all together, they are not so little." (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 2, p. 16)
The Mormon writer John J. Stewart claims that the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith carefully observed the Word of Wisdom: " one can hold high office in the Church, on even the stake or ward level, nor participate in temple work, who is a known user of tea, coffee, liquor or tobacco....
"The Prophet himself carefully observed the Word of Wisdom, and insisted upon its observance by other men in high Church positions,..." (Joseph Smith the Mormon Prophet, p. 90)
Although most members of the Church feel that Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, "carefully observed the Word of Wisdom," research reveals just the opposite. In fact, Joseph Smith, the man who introduced the Temple Ceremony into the Mormon Church, would not be able to go through the Temple if he were living today because of his frequent use of alcoholic beverages.

On page 72 of his book, Sounding Brass, Dr. Hugh Nibley asks where the evidence is that Joseph Smith drank. We would answer Dr. Nibley by saying that this evidence is found throughout Joseph Smith's own History of the Church. In the History of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 26, we find the following:
"The council proceeded to investigate certain charges presented by Elder Rigdon against Martin Harris; one was, that he told A.C. Russell, Esq., that Joseph drank too much liquor when he was translating the Book of Mormon;...

"Brother Harris did not tell Esq., Russell that Brother Joseph drank too much liquor while translating the Book of Mormon, but this thing occurred previous to the translating of the book;..."
The reader will remember that Martin Harris was one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon. The statement by Harris should be compared with a statement found in an affidavit made by Barton Stafford. Stafford, who knew Joseph Smith before he left Palmyra, stated that Smith "was very much addicted to intemperance." (Affidavit of Barton Stafford, dated November 3, 1833, as reprinted in Joseph Smith and Money Digging)

It might be argued that this was prior to the time when the Word of Wisdom was given and that Joseph Smith changed his habits after 1833. Evidence, however, plainly shows that Joseph Smith continued to use alcoholic beverages after the Word of Wisdom was given. Under the date of May 2, 1843, the following statement is recorded in Joseph Smith's History of the Church:
"Wednesday, 3.--Called at the office and drank a glass of wine with Sister Jenetta Richards, made by her mother in England, and reviewed a portion of the conference minutes." (History of the Church, Vol. 5, p. 380)
Benjamin F. Johnson, a personal friend of Joseph Smith, wrote the following about Smith: "He was partial to a well supplied table and he did not always refuse the wine that 'maketh the heart glad.'" (A letter by Benjamin F. Johnson to Elder George S. Gibbs, 1903, as printed in The Testimony of Joseph Smith's Best Friend, page 4) The following references appear in Joseph Smith's History of the Church for January, 1836:
"We then partook of some refreshments, and our hearts were made glad with the fruit of the vine." (History of the Church, Vol. 2, page 369)
"Elders Orson Hyde, Luke S. Johnson, and Warren Parrish, then presented the Presidency with three servers of glasses filled with wine to bless. And it fell to my lot to attend to this duty, which I cheerfully discharged. It was then passed round in order, then the cake in the same order; and suffice it to say, our hearts were made glad while partaking of the bounty of earth which was presented, until we had taken our fill;..." (History of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 378)
Joseph Smith continued to disobey the Word of Wisdom until the day of his death. The History of the Church contains this information concerning an incident in Carthage jail:
"Before the jailor came in, his boy brought in some water, and said the guard wanted some wine. Joseph gave Dr. Richards two dollars to give the guard; but the guard said one was enough, and would take no more.

"The guard immediately sent for a bottle of wine, pipes, and two small papers of tobacco; and one of the guards brought them into the jail soon after the jailor went out. Dr. Richards uncorked the bottle, and presented a glass to Joseph, who tasted, as Brother Taylor and the doctor, and the bottle was then given to the guard, who turned to go out." (History of the Church, Vol. 6, page 616)
We do not know how often Joseph Smith used tobacco, but as the reader will remember (see p. 6 of this book), at one time "he rode through the streets of Nauvoo smoking a cigar." ("Joseph Smith As An Administrator," M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, May 1969, page 161)

The Mormon leaders have made three important changes concerning the Word of Wisdom in Joseph Smith's History of the Church (for details see page 6 of this book). In one instance, Joseph Smith asked "Brother Markam" to get "a pipe and some tobacco" for the Apostle Willard Richards. These words have been replaced with the word "medicine" in recent editions of the History of the Church. At another time Joseph Smith related that he gave some of the "brethren" a "couple of dollars, with directions to replenish" their supply of "whisky." In modern editions of the History of the Church, 23 words have been deleted from this reference to cover up the fact that Joseph Smith encouraged the "brethren" to disobey the Word of Wisdom. In the third instance, Joseph Smith frankly admitted that he had "drank a glass of beer at moessers." These words have been omitted in recent editions of the History of the Church.

In her attack on Fawn Brodie's book No Man Knows My History, the Mormon writer F. L. Stewart makes these statements: "49. NM [No Man Knows My History] states that a revelation known as the 'Word of Wisdom' states that Mormons should 'use wine only at communion.' Therefore, says NM, when Joseph drank wine at weddings, he was breaching this revelation.
"The 'Word of Wisdom' actually states that wine should be taken 'only in assembling yourselves together, to offer up your sacraments before Him.' The correct word is 'sacraments,' not 'communion.' Since both weddings and baptisms were considered to be sacraments, Joseph was not breaching this revelation when he drank wine at weddings..." (Exploding The Myth About Joseph Smith, The Mormon Prophet, page 55)
In a footnote on the same page, F. L. Stewart states: "...Joseph drank wine as a sacrament at his wife's baptism in 1830. This custom is no longer practiced at baptism and weddings, and water is now used in the place of wine for the sacrament of the Lord's Supper."

F .L. Stewart's attempt to explain away Joseph Smith's disregard for the Word of Wisdom cannot be taken seriously. Joseph Smith's "glass of wine" with Jenetta Richards had nothing to do with a "sacrament," nor can his "beer at moessers" be explained in this manner. When Joseph Smith and his friends drank wine in the jail at Carthage, it was certainly not taken as a sacrament. John Taylor, who became the third President of the Mormon Church, made this point very clear in the History of the Church: "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 believe we all drank of the wine, and gave some to one or two of the prison guards." (History of the Church, Vol. 7, page 101)

It is interesting to note that the Apostle John Taylor continued to use alcoholic beverages after Joseph Smith's death. Hosea Stout recorded the following in his diary on June 3, 1847:
"While I was explaining this prests O. Hyde P. P. Pratt and John Taylor also came in so I stoped saying I had been catched twice "Elder Taylor replied to go on and not stop for them. I told him it was nothing but a police meeting and not interesting to them.

"'Never mind says he we are police men too.'

"Says I. 'I hope you will all conform to the rules of the police then.' 'Certainly' says Taylor 'Bring on the jug' says I at which they were presented with a large jug of whiskey.

"This was such an unexpected turn that it was only answered by a peal of laughter and they all paid due respect to the jug...

"After drinking says Parley 'I have traveled these streets all times of the night and never before have I saw a police man but now I know where to find them hereafter' alluding to the jug.

"'Parley' says I 'do you not know that some things in this kingdom are only spiritually discerned and so with the police.'" (On The Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1844-1861, Vol. 1, p. 259)
All of the early Mormon Apostles seem to have used alcoholic beverages after the Word of Wisdom was given. Joseph Smith made the following statement concerning an incident that happened in 1840: "April 17.--This day the Twelve blessed and drank a bottle of wine at Penworthan, made by Mother Moon forty years before." (History of the Church, Vol. 4, page 120) Under the date of April 12, 1845, Hosea Stout recorded in his diary that he attended "a feast of beer and cakes prepared by the old police. The Old police and wives and some of the Twelve were present We had a joyful time as much cakes and beer as we could eat and drink..." (On The Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout, v. 1, p. 34) On July 1, 1845, Hosea Stout recorded:
"This day there was a grand concert...we had also the 12 and other authorities with us, and was also provided with as much beer, wine, cakes andc as we could eat and drink." (Ibid., page 50)
While Joseph Smith and other authorities in the Mormon Church did not observe the Word of Wisdom, others felt that it should be a strict rule for the Church. In the minutes of a Conference held at Far West in 1837 the following statement is found: "The congregation, after a few remarks from Sidney Rigdon, unanimously voted not to support stores and shops selling spirituous liquors, tea, coffee, or tobacco." (History of the Church, Vol. 2, page 524) It is interesting to note that when Joseph Smith opened his store in Nauvoo, it was supplied "with sugar, molasses, glass, salt, tea, coffee andc., purchased in St. Louis." (History of the Church, Vol. 4, page 483) In spite of the vote taken at Far West, not to patronize any store selling these items, Joseph Smith seems to have had a thriving business. It appears that Joseph Smith's own home was supplied with tea and coffee. George A. Smith related the following: "...a certain family,...arrived in Kirtland, and the Prophet asked them to stop with him... Sister Emma,in the mean time, asked the old lady if she would have a cup of tea...or a cup of coffee. This whole family apostatized because they were invited to take a cup of tea or coffee, after the Word of Wisdom was given." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, page 214)

Because of the fact that Joseph Smith did not keep the Word of Wisdom, Almon W. Babbitt felt that he had a right to break it. On the 19th of August, 1835, Almon W. Babbitt was brought to trial:
"On the 19th, a charge was preferred before a council of the Presidency, against Elder Almon W. Babbitt,...

"Elder J.B. Smith testified that Elder Babbitt had assumed the prerogative of dictating to him in his preaching; and that he was not keeping the Word of Wisdom.

"Elder Babbitt said that he had taken the liberty to break the Word of Wisdom, from the example of President Joseph Smith Jun., and others, but acknowledged that it was wrong;..."(History of the Church, v. 2, p. 252)

In Nauvoo Joseph Smith sold liquor; the following ordinance was passed in 1843 (the reader must remember that Joseph Smith was Mayor of Nauvoo at the time):
"Ordinance on the Personal Sale of Liquors.

"Section 1. 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.

"Passed December 12, 1843.

Joseph Smith, Mayor.

"Willard Richards, Recorder." (History of the Church, Vol. 6, page 111)
Joseph Smith's own son related the following:
"About 1842, a new and larger house was built for us.... Father proceeded to build an extensive addition running out from the south wing toward the east....

"At any rate, it seemed spacious then, and a sign was put out giving it the dignified name of 'The Nauvoo Mansion,'... Mother was to be installed as landlady, and soon made a trip to Saint Louis... "When she returned Mother found installed in the keeping - room of the hotel--that is to say, the main room where the guests assembled and where they were received upon arrival--A bar, with counter, shelves, bottles, glasses, and other paraphernalia customary for a fully-equipped tavern bar, and Porter Rockwell in charge as tender.

"She was very much surprised and disturbed over this arrangement, but said nothing for a while...she asked me where Father was. I told her he was in the front room... Then she told me to go and tell him she wished to see him. I obeyed, and returned with him to the hall where Mother awaited him. 'Joseph,' she asked, 'What is the meaning of that bar in this house?'... 'How does it look,' she asked, 'for the spiritual head of a religious body to be keeping a hotel in which is a room fitted out as a liquor-selling establishment?'

"He reminded her that all taverns had their bars at which liquor was sold or dispensed...

"Mother's reply came emphatically clear, though uttered quietly:

"'Well, Joseph,... 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!'

"It did not take Father long to make the choice, for he replied immediately, 'Very well, Emma; I will have it removed at once'--and he did." (The Saints' Herald, Jan. 22, 1935, page 110)
Joseph Smith even tried to justify drunkenness because of the example of Noah. The following appears in Joseph Smith's History of the Church:
"Sunday, 7.--Elder William O. Clark preached about two hours, reproved the Saints for a lack of sanctity, and a want of holy living, enjoining sanctity, solemnity and temperance in the extreme, in the ridgid sectarian style.

"I reproved him as Pharisaical and hypocritical.... What many call sin is not sin; I do many things to break down superstition, and I will break it down;' I referred to the curse of Ham for laughing at Noah, while in his wine, but doing no harm. Noah was a righteous man, and yet he drank wine and became intoxicated; the Lord did not forsake him in consequence thereof, for he retained all the power of his priesthood, and when he was accused by Canaan, he cursed him by the priesthood which he held, and the Lord had respect to his word, and the priesthood which he held, notwithstanding he was drunk, and the curse remains upon the posterity of Canaan until this day." (History of the Church, Vol. 4, pp. 445-446)
Oliver Boardman Huntington related the following incident in his journal:
"Robert Thompson was a faithful just clerk for Joseph Smith the Prophet in Nauvoo and had been in his office steady near or quite 2 years. Joseph said to brother Thompson one day. 'Robert I want you to go and get on a buss [bust?] Go and get drunk and have a good spree, If you don't you will die.'

"Robert did not do it. He was very pious exemplary man and never guilty of such an impropriety as he thought that to be. In less than 2 weeks he was dead and buried." (Journal of Oliver B. Huntington, typed copy at the Utah State Historical Society, Vol. 2, page 166)
Juanita Brooks shows that there was even drinking in the unfinished Nauvoo Temple:
"...others were still putting in their time on the temple. On April 23, Samuel Richards told how the carpenters swept up their shavings 'after which it was voted that Bro. Angel go and inform the Trustees that the hands were ready to drink the barrel of wine which had been reserved for them.' The painters continued their work until the evening of April 29, when a group of the workers and their wives met in the attic and 'had a feast of cakes, pies, wine, andc, where we enjoyed ourselves with prayer, preaching, administering for healing, blessing children, and music and dancing until near Midnight. The other hands completed the painting in the lower room.'" (John D. Lee, pp. 86-87)
On the way to Utah, Brigham Young counseled the Mormons to "make Beer as a drink." (John D. Lee, page 116) "Two lbs. tea, 5 lbs. coffee" were listed as part of the "requirements of each family of five for the journey across the plains." (History of the Church, Vol. 7, page 454) On Oct. 9, 1865, Brigham Young stated that "it is very rarely indeed that I taste tea or coffee;..." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, page 140) However this may be, in 1854 Nunes Carvalho traveled with Brigham Young and reported that Young drank coffee on a regular basis: "This was an imposing travelling party,...taking the word of command from the leading wagon, in which rode Gov. Brigham Young. One of his wives, an accomplished and beautiful lady,...made her husband's coffee, and cooked his meals... I...frequently had my seat at their privitive table,...a moveable table was arranged in the wagon. Venison, beef, coffee, eggs, pies, etc., were served at every meal." (Among the Mormons, Edited by William Mulder and A. Russell Mortensen,page 267) According to Hosea Stout's diary, Brigham Young made this statement on September 27, 1845: "... I am and ever intend to be the Master of my passions...some may say I am in the habits of taking snuff and tea yet I am no slave to these passions and can leave these off if they make my brother affronted..." (On The Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout, Vol. 1, page 75) On April 7, 1867, Brigham Young acknowledged in the Tabernacle that he had chewed tobacco for many years. His excuse was that he used it for a toothache:
" is not my privilege to drink liquor, neither is it my privilege to eat tobacco. Well, bro. Brigham, have you not done it? Yes, for many years, but I ceased its habitual practice. I used it for toothache; now I am free from that pain, and my mouth is never stained with tobacco." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 12, page 404)
Brigham Young's son, Brigham Young, Jun., did not try to excuse his use of tobacco as his father did. He stated:
"I remember once, when a boy, Jedediah M. Grant saw me chewing tobacco, and said he, 'You chew tobacco, do you?' 'Yes, sir.' 'Well, I never had any taste for it; it is no virtue in me that I do not use it, I tried hard enough, but it made me sick.' The virtue, brethren, is in putting away or overcoming habits which you know would impede your progress in the kingdom of God. It was not virtue in Bro. Grant that he did not chew tobacco, he tried to learn how, but could not do it. I tried, and succeeded." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 15, pages 141-142)

The Mormon Apostle John A. Widtsoe stated: "'Boothill cemeteries,' in which were buried men killed in unholy orgies, mostly in saloons, are not found in Utah. Saloons came there with non-Mormons." (Gospel Interpretations, Salt Lake City, 1947, page 250) This statement by the Apostle Widtsoe is certainly untrue. Actually, Brigham Young, the second President of the Mormon Church owned the "first bar-room" in Salt Lake City. The historian Hurbert Howe Bancroft gives this information: "As to the manufacture of whiskey, President Taylor states that alcohol was first made by the Saints for bathing, pickling, and medicinal purposes, and was little used for drinking. Stills were afterward obtained from emigrants, and the manufacture and sale of alcohol were later controlled by the city councils. The first bar-room in S. L. City, and the only one for years, was in the Salt Lake House, owned by President Young and Feramorz Little. It was opened for the accommodation of travellers, whose requirements would be supplied by some one, and it was thought by the brethren that they had better control the trade than have outsiders do so." (History of Utah, p. 540, footnote 44)

Stanley P. Hirshson states: "In Nauvoo the Mormons drank December 1843 the Mormon-controlled City Council authorized Joseph Smith to sell liquor in his hotel.
"In Utah the church dominated the liquor trade. In 1856 Caleb Green freighted six tons of tobacco, rum, whiskey, brandy, tea, and coffee across the plains for Young, and two years later The New York Times reported that the 'principal drinking-saloon and gambling-room are in Salt Lake House, a building under the control of the Church and the immediate superintendency of Heber C. Kimball.'...

"Young tried his best to rid himself of rival brewers." (The Lion of the Lord, page 285)
On June 7, 1863, Brigham Young acknowledged to the congregation assembled in the Bowery, that he had built a distillery:
"When there was no whisky to be had here, and we needed it for rational purposes, I built a house to make it in. When the distillery was almost completed and in good working order, an army was heard of in our vicinity and I shut up the works; I did not make a gallon of whisky at my works, because it came here in great quantities, more than was needed." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 10, p. 206)
Hubert Howe Bancroft gives this information: "Peter K. Dotson,...came to Salt Lake City in 1851, and was first employed by Brigham as manager of a distillery, afterwards becoming express and mail agent." (History of Utah, p. 573, footnote 2) Josiah F. Gibbs gives this interesting information concerning Brigham Young's distillery:
"During forty years the Mormon prophets absolutely controlled the city council and police force of Salt Lake. And whatever vice and crime arose from the sale and consumption of intoxicants during the period under discussion, is justly chargeable to the Mormon leaders.

"Instead, however, of bringing their unappealable dictum to bear on the side of temperance and decent morals, the Prophet Brigham became a distiller of whiskey and other intoxicants, and high priests were the wholesale and retail distributors.

"The evidence in support of the foregoing allegations is clipped from data compiled from the city records by gentlemen living in Salt Lake City,...

"On July 2, 1861, the special committee, to whom was referred the subject of the manufacture and sale of liquor, presented a report reading as follows:

"'To the Honorable Mayor of Salt Lake City: --

"'Your committee, to whom was referred the subject of the manufacture and sale of spirituous liquor, would report that they visited several distilleries in and near the city and would respectfully recommend that the City Council purchase or rent the distillery erected by Brigham Young near the Mouth of Parley's canyon, and put the same in immediate operation, employing such persons as shall be deemed necessary to manufacture a sufficient quantity to answer the public demand; controlling the sale of the same, and that the profits accruing therefrom be paid into the City Treasury.


'Alderman Clinton, 'Alderman Sheets, 'Councilman Felt.'

(Lights and Shadows of Mormonism, by Josiah F. Gibbs, Salt Lake City, 1909, pp. 248-249)
Orlando W. Powers, who served as associate justice of the supreme court of Utah, gave this testimony in the "Reed Smoot Case":
"After the Liberal Party had secured control of the city of Salt Lake, I procured an investigation to be made of the city records, which had been written up by the Mormon city recorders from the earliest time,...

"The city of Salt Lake at that time ran a saloon--a city saloon. It had a city billiard hall. It had a city bathing establishment. It ran a distillery. Its recorder kept an account with the trustee in trust for the Mormon Church, which trustee was credited with tithing--and the tithing, by the way, is the 10 per cent that good Mormons are supposed to pay into the church--due from the various church officials, and they were charged with liquor, and for bathing, and for things of that kind." (The Reed Smoot Case, Vol. 1, pp. 804-805)
On July 26, 1890, Judge Powers gave a speech in which he stated:
"It will please you to know that notwithstanding the fact that the city had gone into the whisky business on its own hook, on August 19, 1862, it granted to Brigham Young a license to distill peaches into brandy. August 11, 1865, Mr. Young and George Q. Cannon addressed the Council on the liquor question. Mr. Young said:

"This community needs vinegar and will require spirituous liquor for washing and for health, and it will be right and proper for the city to continue its sale as it has done and make a profit.

"...Brigham Young kept an open account on the city books, and this account shows that from 1862 to 1872 there were 235 different charges for liquor purchased by him amounting in the aggregate to $9316.66, or an average of $846.97 per year,...

"An examination of the official records of the United States shows that from 1862, when the tax on distilled spirits was first levied, until the coming of the Union Pacific railroad in 1869, which was the beginning of the Gentile era in Utah, thirty-seven distilleries existed in this Territory.... These facts, taken from public records, dispose of the charge that the Gentiles invaded a temperance community." (The Salt Lake Tribune, July 14, 1908)
According to John D. Lee, Brigham Young kept a large supply of liquor. Under the date of May, 14 [15th], 1867, Lee recorded the following in his journal:
"About 5 P.M. Prest. B. Young and suite arrived in the city from his southern visit amoung the Sai[n]ts.... On the following day I went to see him in his Mansion where I spent near day--verry agreeable indeed. He had a decanter of sp[l]endid wine brought in of his own make and said, I want to treat Bro. Lee to as Good an article, I think, as can be bought in Dixie. The wine indeed was a Superior article. He said that he had some 300 gallons and treated about 2000$ worth of liquers yearly and continued that we [he] wish[e]d that some one would take his wine at 5$ per gallon and sell it, where upon Pres. D. H. Wells said that he would take 200 gals. at 6$ a gallon andc." (A Mormon Chronicle, The Diaries of John D. Lee, Vol. 2, pp. 71-72)
In 1867, Brigham Young stated that most of the Bishops did not observe the Word of Wisdom:
"You go through the wards in the city, and then through the wards in the country, and ask the Bishops--'Do you keep the Word of Wisdom?' The reply will be 'Yes; no, not exactly.' 'Do you drink tea?' 'No.' 'Coffee?' 'No.' 'Do you drink whisky?' 'No.' 'Well, then, why do you not observe the Word of Wisdom?' 'Well, this tobacco, I cannot give it up.' And in this he sets an example to every man, and to every boy over ten years of age, in his ward, to nibble at and chew tobacco. You go to another ward, and perhaps the Bishop does not chew tobacco, nor drink tea nor coffee, but once in a while he takes a little spirits, and keeps whiskey in his house, in which he will occasionally indulge-- Go to another ward, and perhaps the Bishop does not drink whisky nor chew tobacco, but he 'cannot give up his tea and coffee.' And so it goes through the whole church. Not every Bishop indulges in one or more of these habits, but most of them do. I recollect being at a trial not long since where quite a number of Bishops had been called in as witnesses, but I could not learn that there was one who did not drink whiskey, and I think that most of them drank tea and coffee. I think that we have some bishops in this city who do not chew tobacco, nor drink liquor nor tea nor coffee to excess.... If a person is weary, worn out, cast down, fainting, or dying, a brandy sling, a little wine, or a cup of tea is good to revive them. Do not throw these things away, and say they must never be used; they are good to be used with judgment, prudence, and discretion. Ask our bishops if they drink tea every day, and in most cases they will tell you they do if they can get it." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 12, pp. 402-403)
The same year that Brigham Young made the statements cited above, the Apostle Wilford Woodruff stated: "Very few of us have kept the Word of Wisdom; but I have no doubt that if the council of President Young were carried out it would save the people of this Territory a million of dollars annually." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, p. 370) In a sermon delivered March 10, 1960, Brigham Young stated: "Many of the brethren chew tobacco, and I have advised them to be modest about it. Do not take out a whole plug of tobacco in meeting before the eyes of the congregation, and cut off a long slice and put it in your mouth, to the annoyance of everybody around. Do not glory in this disgraceful practice. If you must use tobacco, put a small portion in your mouth when no person sees you, and be careful that no one sees you chew it. I do not charge you with sin. You have the 'Word of Wisdom.' Read it." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8, p. 361) Tobacco chewing became a serious problem in the Tabernacle, for in 1870 BrighamYoung stated:
"There is another subject I wish to refer to. Last Sabbath this front gallery,...was very full. After meeting was dismissed I took a walk through it, and to see the floor that had been occupied by those professing to be gentlemen, and I do not know but brethren, you might have supposed that cattle had been there rolling and standing around, for here and there were great quids of tobacco, and places one or two feet square smeared with tobacco juice. I want to say to the doorkeepers that when you see gentlemen who cannot omit chewing and spitting while in this house, request them to leave; and if such persons refuse to leave, and continue their spitting, just take them and lead them out carefully and kindly. We do not want to have the house thus defiled. It is an imposition for gentlemen to spit tobacco juice around, or to leave their quids of tobacco on the floor; they dirty the house, and if a lady happen to besmear the bottom of her dress, which can hardly be avoided, it is highly offensive. We therefore request all gentlemen attending conference to omit tobacco chewing while here." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p. 344)
The Mormon writer Leonard J. Arrington makes these interesting observations concerning the "Word of Wisdom":
"The strong and increased emphasis on the Word of Wisdom which characterized the official Mormon attitude throughout the remainder of the century appears to have begun in 1867....

"The explanation for these rules and the widespread resolves to obey the Word of Wisdom seems to lie in the conditions of the Mormon economy...was necessary for the Latter-day Saints to develop and maintain a self-sufficient economy in their Rocky Mountain retreat. Economic independence was a necessary goal of the group and every program of the church tended toward that end... There must be no waste of liquid assets on imported consumers' goods.... Saints who used their cash to purchase imported Bull Durham, Battle-Axe plugs, tea, coffee, and similar 'wasteful' (because not productive) products were taking an action which was opposed to the economic interests of the territory. In view of this situation, President Young came to be unalterably opposed to the expenditure of money by the Saints on imported tea, coffee, and tobacco. It was consistent with the economics of the time that he should have had no great objection to tobacco chewing if the tobacco was grown locally. It was also consistent that he should have successfully developed a locally-produced 'Mormon' tea to take the place of the imported article.... In a letter of instructions to all the settlements south of Great Salt Lake City, President Young wrote:

This community has not yet concluded to entirely dispense with te use of tobacco, and great quantities have been imported... I know of no better climate and soil than are here for the successful culture of tobacco. Instead of buying it in a foreign market and importing it over a thousand miles, why not raise it in our country or do without it?... Tea is in great demand in Utah, and anything under that name sells readily at an extravagant price. Tea can be produced in this Territory in sufficient quantities for home consumption, and if we raise it ourselves we know that we have the pure article. If we do not raise it, I would suggest that we do without it." (Brigham Young University Studies, Winter 1959, pp. 43-45)
In his sermons Brigham Young made these statements concerning tea, coffee, tobacco and whiskey:
"You know that we all profess to believe the 'Word of Wisdom.' There has been a great deal said about it, more in former than in latter years. We as Latter-day Saints, care but little about tobacco; but as 'Mormons' we use a great deal.... The traders and passing emigration have sold tons of tobacco, besides what is sold here regularly. I say that $60,000 annually is the smallest figure I can estimate the sales at. Tobacco can be raised here as well as it can be raised in any other place. It wants attention and care. If we use it, let us raise it here. I recommend for some man to go to raising tobacco. One man, who came here last fall, is going to do so; and if he is diligent, he will raise quite a quantity. I want to see some man go to and make a business of raising tobacco and stop sending money out of the territory for that article.

"Some of the brethren are very strenuous upon the 'Word of Wisdom,' and would like to have me preach upon it, and urge it upon the brethren, and make it a test of fellowship. I do not think that I shall do so. I have never done so. We annually expend only $60,000 to break the 'Word of Wisdom', and we can save the money and still break it, if we will break it." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 9, page 35)

"What I am now about to say is on the subject of tobacco. Let us raise our own tobacco, or quit using it. In the years '49, '50, '51, '52, and '53, and so long as I kept myself posted...we spent upwards of $100,000 dollars a year for tobacco alone! We now spend considerably more than we did then. Let us save this ready means in our country by abstaining from the use of this narcotic, or raise it ourselves." (Ibid., Vol. 11, p. 140)

"It is true that we do not raise our own tobacco: we might raise it if we would. We do not raise our tea; but we might raise it if we would, for tea-raising, this is as good a country as China; and the coffee bean can be raised a short distance south of us.... We can sustain ourselves; and as for such so-called luxuries as tea, coffee, tobacco and Whiskey, we can produce them or do without them." (Ibid., Vol. 11, pp. 113-114)
Brigham Young also recommend that the Mormons make wine. Angus M. Woodbury stated: "A circular was sent out to the various orders of the stake by Brigham Young and George A. Smith suggesting policies of operation. In brief, it suggested that fruit be canned or dried fit for any market; that wine be made at few places under expert direction for exportation;..." (The Mormon United Order in Utah, page 9) Leonard J. Arrington informs us that Brigham Young wanted most of the wine to be sold to the gentiles:
"The attempts of the latter-day Saints in southern Utah and elsewhere to make wine are all illustrative of the dominating philosophy of economic self-sufficiency. One function of these enterprises, of course, was to provide wine for the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.... Wine was used in the sacrament of the church as late as 1897. A more important function of wine-making, however, was to provide much-needed income for the poverty-stricken pioneers in Utah's Dixie. The intention was to sell most of the wine in mining communities in southern Utah and Nevada. Brigham Young instructed as follows: 'First, by lightly pressing, make a white wine. Then give a heavier pressing and make a colored wine. Then barrel up this wine, and if my counsel is taken, this wine will not be drunk here, but will be exported, and thus increase the fund.' More of the dixie wine was consumed in the mormon settlements than church officials had hoped, however, and the enterprise was discontinued before 1900."(Brigham Young University Studies, Winter 1959, pages 46-47)
In footnote 29 on page 251 of A Mormon Chronicle, Vol. 2, this interesting information is given: "At Brigham Young's suggestion, Neagle went east... In 1865 he was called upon to take charge of the wine-making industry at toquerville. Here he raised many varieties of grapes, imported a wine press from California, and soon became the largest wine producer in the intermountain area. His large stone house with the wine-cellar basement still stands in Toquerville." In his book, Desert Saints, Nels Anderson gives this information:
"Wine-making was another Mormon enterprise that came to the same end as the cotton, iron, and silk missions. The St. George Tithing Office reported on March, 1887, a supply of 6,610 gallons of wine, valued at 50 cents per gallon....

"The making of wine and some whiskey and brandy went ahead without organized direction for more than a decade. On March 26, 1874, when Brigham Young spoke to the women... He favored making wine for sale to outsiders.... The tithing office at St. George received wine of many grades. It met the problem by setting up standards. The tithing clerk issued these instructions on September 20, 1879:

"In order to obtain a more uniform grade of wine than we are able to obtain by mixing together the tithes of small pressings in the hands of sundry individuals; it is suggested that those having but small quantities of grapes to make up into wine, deliver their tithes in grapes at this office. This may be arranged under the direction of the bishop so that economy may be preserved in the hauling, for which, of course, credit will be given on the tithing account.

"Thus the church found itself the chief single producer of wine in the Dixie area... Because the tithing offices held the largest amount of wine for the market at any time, it was in a position to name the price. Church interest is evidenced in a letter sent by the St. George Tithing Office August 12, 1880. This letter was a bill sent to the managers in charge of building the Manti Temple, to whom had been sent a quantity of wine--4 barrels, or 158 gallons. It was not sold, but tithing credit was asked as follows: $187.50 for the wine; $20.00 for the barrels; for hauling the wine to Manti, $16.00; total $233.50.

This was given in pay to the builders of the temple.

"In 1889 Edward H. Snow, clerk of the St. George Tithing Office, wrote the presiding bishop at Salt Lake City regarding wine: 'Our sales during the year do not amount to half of what we are obliged to make up from the grapes that are brought in.... We have made at this office alone over 600 gallons this year. We cannot refuse the grapes or the wine, and I see no way to get rid of it.' Snow wanted the presiding bishop to take the surplus. Later the tithing office sent men with loads of wine to the northern settlements, where they traded Dixie's liquid wealth for wheat and flour or took it to the mining camps,...

"Dixie brethren did not follow Brother Brigham's counsel. They drank so much of the wine that by 1890 drunkenness was a worry to the church leaders. The tithing office discontinued accepting wine for tithes and abandoned its own presses." (Desert Saints, by Nels Anderson, University of Chicago Press, 1966, pp. 373-374)

"The Mormon wine business proved the entering wedge for a kind of fraternalism between Mormons and Gentiles which was very disturbing to local church leaders. Mormons who drank wine with the Gentiles became friendly with them. Besides breaking down the social barriers, wine-drinking became a vice to some of the brethren....

"The High Council complained that some wine-drinkers did not pay their tithing, that others neglected their families, and that still other wine-drinkers were degenerating into loafers.... The bishops were required to take offenders to task; but this was not easy, since in some wards most of the brethren made wine for sale and most of the brethren had become wine-drinkers to some degree....

"Since the St. George Tithing Office, as a practical measure, had originally joined with the farmers in making wine, the church authorities were much embarrassed in pushing their drive against wine-drinkers. About 1887 the tithing office discontinued making wine. The passing of Silver Reef as a market left the producers with quantities of wine on hand. The tithing office managed, as well as it could, to get rid of the more than six thousand gallons on hand.

"From the moral angle, church leaders were forced to recognize that their people could not be makers of liquor without being drinkers of it, too. There were too many drinkers of wine and too few moderate drinkers among them." (Desert Saints, pp. 435-436)

One anti-Mormon writer claimed that the witnesses to the Book of Mormon were drunk at the time they received their vision concerning the plates. We have been unable to find any evidence to support this accusation. There is, however, evidence to show that wine was used to excess in the Kirtland Temple at the very time the Mormons were claiming to receive visions.

The reader will remember that we quoted William Harris as saying:
"In the evening, they met for the endowment. The fast was then broken by eating light wheat bread, and drinking as much wine as they saw proper. Smith knew well how to infuse the spirit which they expected to receive; so he encouraged the brethren to drink freely, telling them that the wine was consecrated, and would not make them drunk....they began to prophecy, pronouncing blessings upon their friends, and curses upon their enemies. If I should be so unhappy as to go to the regions of the damned, I never expect to hear language more awful, or more becoming the infernal pit, than was uttered that night." (Mormonism Portrayed, pp. 31-32)
Charles L. Walker, a faithful Mormon, recorded the following in his diary:
"Sun., Nov. 21, 1880....Bro. Milo Andress... Spoke of blessings and power of God manifested in the Kirtland Temple. Said he once asked the Prophet who [why?] he (Milo) did not feel that power that was spoken of as the power which was felt on the day of Pentecost?...when we had fasted for 24 hours and partaken of the Lord's supper, namely a piece of bread as big as your double fist and half a pint of wine in the temple, I was there and saw the Holy Ghost descend upon the heads of those present like cloven tongues of fire." ("Diary of Charles L. Walker," 1855-1902, Excerpts Typed, 1969, page 35)
The statement by the Mormon Apostle George A. Smith would also lead a person to believe that wine was used to excess:
"...after the people had fasted all day, they sent out and got wine and bread,...they ate and drank,...some of the High Counsel of Missouri stepped into the stand, and, as righteous Noah did when he awoke from his wine, commenced to curse their enemies." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, page 216)
In a statement dated Feb. 27, 1885, Mrs. Alfred Morley made this comment:
"I have heard many Mormons who attended the dedication, or endowment of the Temple, say that very many became drunk.... The Mormon leaders would stand up to prophesy and were so drunk they said they could not get it out, and would call for another drink. Over a barrel of liquor was used at the service." (Naked Truths About Mormonism, Oakland, California, April, 1888, p. 2)
Isaac Aldrich stated:
"My brother, Hazen Aldrich, who was president of the Seventies, told me when the Temple was dedicated a barrel of wine was used and they had a drunken 'pow-wow.'" (Ibid., p. 3)
Stephen H. Hart gave this information:
"Mr. McWhithey, who was a Mormon...said he attended a service which lasted from 10 A.M. until 4 P.M., and there was another service in the evening. The Lord's Supper was celebrated and they passed the wine in pails several times to the audience, and each person drank as much as he chose from a cup. He said it was mixed liquor, and he believed the Mormon leaders intended to get the audience under the influence of the mixed liquor, so they would believe it was the Lord's doings.... When the liquor was repassed, Mr. McWhithey told them he had endowment enough, and said he wanted to get out of the Temple, which was densely crowded." (Ibid., page 3)
The reader will remember that David Whitmer, one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon, called the endowment "a trumped up yarn" and said that "there was no visitation." (The Des Moines Daily News, October, 16, 1886) The fact that the Mormons fasted for some time and then drank an excessive amount of wine probably led many of them to curse their enemies and to believe that they had seen visions.

LaMar Petersen has gathered a great deal of information on this subject which he has compiled in a manuscript entitled "Hearts Made Glad." When this manuscript is published it will throw important light on this subject.


The Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt once stated: "I do not wonder that the world say that the Latter-day Saints do not believe their own revelations. Why? Because we do not practice them." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 17, p. 104)

We have shown that Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, did not keep the Word of Wisdom, yet, according to Joseph Fielding Smith, Joseph Smith taught that a member of the Church could not hold an office unless he observed the Word of Wisdom: "One question considered was as follows: 'Whether disobedience to the word of wisdom was a transgression sufficient to deprive an official member from holding office in the Church, after having it sufficiently taught him?' After a free and full discussion Joseph Smith, who presided, gave his decision as follows: 'No official member in this Church is worthy to hold an office after having the word of wisdom properly taught him; and he, the official member, neglecting to comply with or obey it.' This decision was confirmed by unanimous vote." (Essentials in Church History, page 169)

It is certainly strange that Joseph Smith could break the Word of Wisdom and yet retain his position as President of the Church. The thing that makes this especially strange is that when a member of the Church did not observe the Word of Wisdom, this was sometimes used against him if he was tried for his fellowship. Leonard J. Arrington stated: "Moreover, when a council at Far West tried a high church official (David Whitmer) for his fellowship, the first of the five charges against him was that he did not observe the Word of Wisdom." (Brigham Young University Studies, Winter 1959, page 40) As we have already shown, when Almon W. Babbitt was charged with not observing the Word of Wisdom, his only defence was that he "had taken the liberty to break the Word of Wisdom, from the example of President Joseph Smith, Jun., and others." We have also shown that after Joseph Smith's death, Brigham Young and other Church leaders did not observe the Word of Wisdom.

It is a well known fact that Ann Eliza Webb, who was married to Brigham Young, later left Young and wrote a book against the Mormon Church. Dr. Hugh Nibley tried to discredit her book by stating that she was never a good Mormon: "She may have detested the man, but if she really believed in his religion, as she perpetually protests, her behavior would have been totally different: at the very least she would have gone to prayers, kept the word of wisdom, and paid tithing--none of which she did." (Sounding Brass, page 152) Using the same argument, we would ask Dr. Nibley why Joseph Smith and Brigham Young did not keep the Word of Wisdom?

Heber C. Kimball, who was a member of the First Presidency, once stated that "virtuous Saints,... will not sell whiskey, and stick up grogeries, and establish distilleries,..." (Journal of Discourses, v. 2, p. 161) This statement seems very strange when we learn that Joseph Smith sold whiskey in Nauvoo, and that Brigham Young built a distillery and sold alcoholic beverages in Utah. Even the Mormon-owned Zions Cooperative Mercantile Institution (now known as ZCMI) sold the items forbidden by the Word of Wisdom. On Oct. 7, 1873, George A. Smith, a member of the First Presidency, made this statement: "We are doing a great business in tea, coffee, and tobacco in the Cooperative Store." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 16, p. 238)

In 1908 the Salt Lake Tribune accused the Mormon leaders of trying to monopolize the liquor business in Utah:
"...the Mormon priesthood...resisted to the utmost the establishment of liquor houses by Gentiles here for a good while, not because they were liquor houses, but because the Gentiles were getting the trade.... This fierce effort to retain the liquor traffic here as a monopoly of the church was quite in accord with the present status of affairs here where the church is running the biggest liquor business in the state, through its Z.C.M.I. drug store and also through the big liquor business done by Apostle Smoot in his drug store at Provo.... By means of auxiliary companies like the Z.C.M.I. drug company they maintain a huge liquor trade for the benefit of the church hierarchs, and the trustee-in-trust for the church, and at the same time claim to be special advocates of the temperance cause; and while taking the tremendous profits of that trade, throw up their hands in horror at the idea of people spending so much money for liquor....denying all responsibility for it, while at the same time pocketing the profits and getting away with the rewards." (Salt Lake Tribune, July 14, 1908)
It would appear that even some of the Mormons were shocked by the fact that the Church-owned Z.C.M.I. sold items which were forbidden in the Word of Wisdom. Joseph F. Smith, who became the sixth President of the Church, tried to justify the sale of these items in the Church store:
"Some of our pretended pious people, a few years ago, were shocked and horrified by seeing the symbol of the All-Seeing Eye and the words 'Holiness to the Lord' in gilt letters over the front of Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institution. Especially was this the case with some of our brethren when they found these letters over the drug department of Z.C.M.I. Why was it? Why some of these pious (?) Mormons found that Z.C.M.I. under the symbol of the all-seeing eye and the sacred words, 'Holiness to the Lord,' sold tea and coffee, and tobacco, and other things possibly that Latter-day Saints ought not to use; and at the drug store, Z.C.M.I. kept liquors of various kinds for medicinal purposes. It was terribly shocking to some of the Latter-day Saints that under these holy words liquor should be kept for sale. Has it injured me, in any sense of the word, because Z.C.M.I. drug store kept liquor for sale? Has it made me a drunkard? Have I been under the necessity of guzzling liquid poison? Have I made myself a sot because liquor was kept for sale by Z.C.M.I.? I am not the worse for it, thank the Lord. And who else is? No one, except those pious Mormons (?) who in open day or under the cover of night would go into the drug store and buy liquor to drink.... Those who were the most horrified at seeing the All-Seeing Eye and 'Holiness to the Lord' over the front door of Z.C.M.I., I will guarantee are the ones that have bought the most tea and coffee, tobacco and whiskey there.... It does not matter to me how much tea and coffee Z.C.M.I. sells, so long as I do not buy it. If I do not drink it am I not all right? And if the poor creature that wants it can get it there, that ought to satisfy him. If he could not get it there, he would not patronize Z.C.M.I. at all, but would go some where else to deal." (Conference Report, April 1898, page 11)
It is interesting to note that Joseph F. Smith served as President of Z.C.M.I.--as well as President of the Mormon Church--at the time liquor was sold there. In the Reed Smoot Case we find the following testimony:
"Mr. Carlisle. You are traffic manager of the Zion Cooperative Mercantile Institution, I believe? "Mr. Love. Yes, sir.

"Mr. Carlisle. Does it not deal in liquors?

"Mr. Love. It does.

"Mr. Carlisle. Who is the President of that concern?

"Mr. Love. Joseph F. Smith." (Reed Smoot Case, Vol. 4, pp. 318-319)
Although the Word of Wisdom contains some good precepts, it is obviously a product of the thinking of Joseph Smith's times. Alcoholic beverages were condemned by the temperance movement years before Joseph Smith gave his "revelation." Although Smith was correct in stating that tobacco is harmful, we do not feel that this proves that his "revelation" is divinely inspired. The Wayne Sentinel--a newspaper printed in the neighborhood where Joseph Smith grew up--published these statements concerning tobacco three years before Joseph Smith gave the "Word of Wisdom":
"It is really surprising that a single individual could be found, who, after experiencing the distressing sensations almost invariably produced by the first use of tobacco, would be willing to risk their recurrence a second time:...tobacco is, in fact, an absolute poison.....

"We have ourselves known individuals, in whom very severe and dangerous affections of the stomach--tremors of the limbs, and great emaciation, were referable to excessive smoking and chewing, and which were removed only after these habits were entirely relinquished." (Wayne Sentinel, November 6, 1829)
Caffeine: The Devil Is In The Drip
Tuesday, Feb 7, 2006, at 09:13 AM
Original Author(s): Eight Hour Lunch
Topic: WORD OF WISDOM   -Link To MC Article-
Or maybe not. Last week I did something that millions of people around the world do. I brought a can of Coke to the table to enjoy with dinner. What made me different is that I did it in a very orthodox Mormon house. I can't say for sure, but for a second my mom seemed to pause awkwardly as she stole a furtive glance at the can.

Fools! Now I am your master!!!

You see, caffeine is of the devil. Mormons, or at least the strict ones, aren't supposed to drink any caffeine at all. My can of Coke was at best a breach of etiquette. At worst, it was an insult to god and his humble followers. (Never mind that I occasionally like rum or whiskey with mine).

The basis for this taboo is based on quotes of several LDS authorities. For example, the late Mormon Prophet, Heber J. Grant said:
I am not going to give any command, but I will ask it as a personal, individual favor to me, to let coca-cola [sic] alone. There are plenty of other things you can get at the soda fountains without drinking that which is injurious. The Lord does not want you to use any drug that creates an appetite for itself. (Conference Report, April 1922, p.165)
Consequently, you will not find any caffeinated soft drinks at BYU or at places of church employment. You won't find it for sale, that is. I think it would be very amusing to do random spot checks of what people are drinking near the “Profit's” office. I know when I was at BYU, I used to go off campus for it.

That's one of the cool things about being a prophet. You can ask a favor of millions of people and a lot of them will actually do it because they don't want to go to hell.

Having said that, I don't want anyone to stop drinking Coke. It tastes good, and from what I've read the dangers of caffeine have been grossly overstated. If you like it, it makes you happy, and doesn't hurt anyone else, drink it! Of course, if you're looking for a healthier alternative, why not have a cup of coffee?
The Cold Water Pledge - And The Word Of Wisdom - And Mainstreaming
Monday, Apr 23, 2007, at 09:04 AM
Original Author(s): Jw The Inquizzinator
Topic: WORD OF WISDOM   -Link To MC Article-
To de-bunk the oft repeated claim that Joseph Smith MUST have been a prophet because there is NO WAY he could have thought up the Word of Wisdom on his own, I submit the following.

First, the Tanners lay out the facts surrounding the creation of the WoW and the hypocrisy of the early lds church leaders very well. You can find it here:

If you'd like "non-anti-Mormon sources" on....

The timing of the WoW's emergence coincides exactly with the movement of Temperance Societies to Abstinence Societies. You can find info about them here:

The whole "hot drinks" phenomenom was not unique either. "Drunkards" were encouraged to take the "Cold Water Pledge"--a pledge to let nothing stronger than cold water pass their lips. Here's a link to a portable podium used in Temperance Meetings where the penitent would roll down the aisle and take the pledge:

Here is a link to an insignia for the Massachusetts Temperance Union called "The Cold Water Army".

Some called their organizations "Cold Water Societies". Here is a link to an 'Ohio History' article talking about 1830 Ohio Societies

Cold Water Societies were not an American invention either it seems. In fact, here is an interesting take on Daniel 1:8-21. "...Here, nearly twenty-five hundred years ago, in the royal palace at Babylon, existed a cold water society, a band of total abstainers, an interesting group of young men who voluntarily confined themselves to vegetable food and water, amid all the temptations of the royal court. It is interesting to note the result. There were others "of their sort," of the same condition and undergoing the same training, who indulged in the rich food and drinks sent from the royal table, and it could thus be tested which course was most salutary for body and mind."

Here's a nice little write-up I found:
"Of course Emma played a very important role here: she was one of the founding members of the Kirtland Temperance Society (disparagingly referred to as the Cold Water Society), and had successfully campaigned for the closure of a distillery in town. She was a woman with a mission, to eliminate the use of alcohol and tobacco, to reduce the eating of meat, and to recommend against the use of hot drinks. The Society promoted these ideas in the name of "health".

Unfortunately, shortly after this revelation was given, many Latter-Day Saints took the advice literally. They would not boil water which was to be used by humans. You often read of the horrible bouts of dysentery and cholera running rampant through various Mormon settlements after 1830; now you know the reason.

After Joseph's death and the emigration from Missouri to Utah, Brigham Young found political capital in the use of the Word of Wisdom to promote domestic production of various beverages. He saw consumption of alcohol, coffee, and tea as a drain on the economy of Utah, and repeatedly exhorted the Saints to avoid consumption of out-of-state goods. He even encouraged some Saints to start their own tobacco farms (despite Utah's horrible growing season for the crop) in order to curb local enthusiasm for the weed.

Over time, adherence to Brigham's interpretation of the Word of Wisdom increased, and in 1928 faithful following of the Word of Wisdom became a requirement for entry into Mormon Temples. Contrary to popular belief, there was no vote on this change, but just a quiet modification of the wording of the temple recommend interviews. The timing is useful to note here, as just a few years earlier (1920) the LDS church was a primary financier of the Prohibition amendment to the US Constitution, and LDS leaders expressed grave disappointment that the state, which had so unanimously approved of the amendment a few years earlier, overwhelmingly approved the ouster of Prohibition a few years later in 1933.

In 1928, when this became a requirement for temple entry, Prohibition was already under enormous pressure, for it illegalized what had been legal for thousands of years. It appears that this requirement was added to the temple recommend interview in order to reiterate the church's position on Prohibition."
Sorry to disappoint the "faithful", but the lds church has been "mainstreaming" for a long, long time.
Why Mormons Dont Drink Caffeine
Thursday, May 1, 2008, at 07:14 AM
Original Author(s): Steve
Topic: WORD OF WISDOM   -Link To MC Article-
I just spent 15 minutes explaining why mormons dont drink caffeine to a never mo friend of mine. So I thought I would post it here in case there are any curious nevermo lurkers who would be interested. I also showed her this site yesterday, so if you are reading this thread Ingrid, yes this is the same thing I jsut sent you on myspace. ;-)

Mormons and caffeine is a long story.

Mormons were polygamists. (I know - what does that have to do with caffeine right? but just wait - it does) After the LDS church's financial base was destroyed because the US government was seizing all of its assets, and many of its leaders imprisoned or unable to live normal lives because they were in hiding to avoid prison, the LDS church issued a press release saying that they had stopped practicing polygamy. They hadn't, it was all a lie. But as spin tends to do sometimes, it worked. The US government agreed to return the LDS church assets it had seized. And six years later, Utah was granted statehood.

But the mormons continued to practice polygamy.

And people noticed.

And they wrote about it in newspapers.

Congress even held 3 years of hearings on the matter, where LDS church prophets went to washington and made some astonishing admission and told some outrageous lies.

In 1904 the LDS church issued a second press release. This one also lied and said no one was practicing polygamy and that no new marriegs had been performed since 1890, but it was less subtle in what it said to the members. It said "And I hereby announce that all such marriages are prohibited, and if any officer or member of the Church shall assume to solemnize or enter into any such marriage, he will be deemed in transgression against the Church, and will be liable to be dealt with according to the rules and regulations thereof and excommunicated therefrom."

Pretty clear about the no new marriages. So, within five years they finally stopped new plural marriages. ;-) Now the people who had been married polygamously didnt stop practicing polygamy in 1890, or in 1904. They stopped when they died. But after the 1890 manifesto people were no longer ordered to marry nw wives, and after the 1904 manifesto they were no longer allowed to marry new wives. SO the polygamists slowly started to cease being the majority of the leadership of the church (In the 1850-1900 time frame ALL church leader were obligated to be polygmists, it was like he mafia, where you had to kill someone to "make your bones" and be brought into the family - in mormonism you had to take an extra wife.)

But now in the early 20th century that was changing. Mormonism had thrived and grown for the past fifty years on its sense of isolation and perceived persecution. They were proud to have been a "peculiar people." BUt now in the early 20th century, they had lost a big chunck of what made them "peculiar."

In 1918 Joseph F. Smith, the prophet who had issued the second manifesto died. He had been a polygamist who fathered about 45 children, 14 of them after the 1890 manifesto. When mormons today claim the "practice of polygamy ended" in 1890 - - - well, 14 kids will say he was practing quite a bit. ;-) Smith was replaced by Heber Grant. Grant had been a polygamist, but was no longer practicing when he took office, because all of his wives but one had died. He was the prophet from 1918 to 1945.

He very perceptivly noticed that the LDS church had lost it "peculiar" edge and he worried that the LDS church might get assimilated into mainstream US culture. What do do? Well he was an ardent prohibitionist. So he decided to replce the peculiar polygamy with a peculiar health and dietary code. Luckily for him the LDS church already had one. Sort of. It was called the word of wisdom. It was not a commandment - just a suggestion (literally that is what it says) It said some good things - like dont eat too much meat - beer is good for you - mary jane is better for you - tobacco is bad. But it also said some crazy things. Like wine is bad. Like hot drinks are forbidden. Thousands of mormons died of cholera and other diseseases over its first hundred years because many of them followed the suggestion and didnt boil their water, tea, broths etc.

So Heber Grant took the WoW and basically reinvented it. Since mormons beleive in "living revelation" he was entitled to do this. Ignoring the plain language of the original "revelation" he made up a set of rules which mormons were now required, rather than suggested, to live by. THIS is when caffeine became part of the word of wisdom. Coffee and tea were now agains the rules regardless of the temperature they were served at. The spitoons were removed from the temple, no more chewing tobacco for the apostles. Bishops who couldnt give up their pipes or their coffee were released, and so on and so on.

This happend in the 1920's and 30's, it took a while for all of the canges to be made and enforced.

And that is why mormons can't drink caffeine, 40 is the new thirty, down is the new up, and no caffeine was the new polygamy.

When The Word Of Wisdom Became Requirement For Entering The Temple
Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009, at 01:19 PM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: WORD OF WISDOM   -Link To MC Article-
Adherence to the proscriptions of the Word of Wisdom was not made a requirement for entry into LDS Church temples until 1902. However, even then, church president Joseph F. Smith encouraged stake presidents to be liberal with old men who used tobacco and old ladies who drank tea. Of those who violated the revelation, it was mainly habitual drunkards that were excluded from the temple. Around the turn of the century, the proscriptions of the Word of Wisdom were not strictly adhered to by such notable church leaders. Anthon H. Lund, a First Counselor in the First Presidency, drank beer and wine; Apostle Matthias F. Cowley drank beer and wine; Charles W. Penrose, who also served as a First Counselor in the First Presidency, drank wine; Relief Society president Emmeline B. Wells drank coffee; and church president George Albert Smith drank brandy, for medicinal purposes. In 1921, church president Heber J. Grant made adherence to the proscriptions of the Word of Wisdom an absolute requirement for entering the temple.

Today, adherence to the proscriptions of the Word of Wisdom is required for baptism and for entry into temples of the LDS Church. BYU historian Thomas G. Alexander points out that while the original Word of Wisdom as a "principle with promise" was given by revelation, there is no evidence that any church leader has claimed a separate new revelation, or even a spiritual confirmation, of changing the Word of Wisdom from "a principle with promise" to a commandment.
Caffeine Officially Not Against Word Of Wisdom
Wednesday, Sep 5, 2012, at 06:44 AM
Original Author(s): Equality
Topic: WORD OF WISDOM   -Link To MC Article-
Check it out. This is too funny. So, President Newsroom came out yesterday with a statement aimed at correcting those ignoramuses at NBC who somehow managed to get wrong the very clear policy of the LDS Church on caffeine. You see, NBC reported that the LDS Church is against caffeine. And everyone who knows anything about Mormonism knows that that is just wrong. Why didn't NBC just ask the church. If NBC had just done that, President Newsroom would have set them straight. As President Newsroom said yesterday:
Finally, another small correction: Despite what was reported, the Church does not prohibit the use of caffeine. The Church’s health guidelines, known in our scriptures as “the Word of Wisdom” (Doctrine and Covenants 89), prohibits alcoholic drinks, smoking or chewing of tobacco and “hot drinks” – taught by Church leaders to refer specifically to tea and coffee. The restriction does not go beyond this.
Oh, but wait a minute. It seems President Newsroom spoke too soon, for he had to edit his "correction" of NBC the very next day. President Newsroom's statement now reads as follows:
Finally, another small correction: Despite what was reported, the Church revelation spelling out health practices (Doctrine and Covenants 89) does not mention the use of caffeine. The Church’s health guidelines prohibits [sic] alcoholic drinks, smoking or chewing of tobacco, and “hot drinks” – taught by Church leaders to refer specifically to tea and coffee.
Such delicious irony: the Church tries to "correct" NBC by making a clear statement that caffeine is not prohibited, and then the very next day retracts the clear statement to the more ambiguous "does not mention the use of caffeine" thereby leaving it wide open for all kinds of different interpretations and understandings.

So how, exactly, did NBC get it wrong? Mormons themselves, including the leader of the Church President Newsroom, don't know whether caffeine is banned or not. Hinckley thought it was (as indicated by what he told Larry King and Mike Wallace). Other Prophets thought it was, and the church used to publish a pamphlet stating that caffeine consumption violated the Word of Wisdom. Some (but probably not a majority) Bishops and Stake Presidents deny TRs to people who drink caffeinated sodas (I once had a SP grill me about it, but only one of all the Bishops and SPs I ever had in the church). BYU does not allow the sale of caffeinated beverages, which is odd if they are not proscribed. But most Mormons probably don't view them as per se banned. And it's an open secret that Monson enjoys his Pepsi. I just love the irony of the church "correcting" NBC on this issue when what NBC reported was exactly what Hinckley said more than once on national TV. Hilarious.

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Archived Blogs:
Mormonism And The Word Of Wisdom
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Caffeine: The Devil Is In The Drip
The Cold Water Pledge - And The Word Of Wisdom - And Mainstreaming
Why Mormons Dont Drink Caffeine
When The Word Of Wisdom Became Requirement For Entering The Temple
Caffeine Officially Not Against Word Of Wisdom
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