In 1833, the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith a law of health called the Word of Wisdom. This law teaches us what foods and substances we should and should not use to maintain the health of our bodies and to keep us free from evil influences. The Lord promises blessings of health, strength, protection against evil, and greater receptiveness to spiritual truths. The Word of Wisdom teaches that we are to specifically avoid harmful substances, including alcohol, tobacco, tea, and coffee. We must also avoid harmful drugs in any form.
The story surrounding the origin of the Word of Wisdom is stated in the heading of Doctrine and Covenants Section 89 which reads, “As a consequence of the early brethren using tobacco in their meetings, the Prophet was led to ponder upon the matter; consequently he inquired of the Lord concerning it. This revelation, known as the Word of Wisdom, was the result.”
During these meetings the men would spit the nasty tobacco juices on the wood floor. After words, Joseph’s wife Emma had to clean the dirty floor boards. She was so disgusted that she asked her husband to do something about it. Her complaints led the Prophet to ask God whether tobacco use was appropriate for Latter-day Saints. And the Lord’s response came in the form of a revelation that covered far more than just tobacco. It also restricted the consumption of wine, liquor, meat, and hot drinks.
As a result, of living this health code, studies have confirmed that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are among the healthiest people in the world. It’s one of the fruits of living God’s health law and seen as a sign of the truth of Mormonism.
DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS
The first three verses were originally written as an inspired introduction by Joseph Smith.
- Verse 2. “Sent not by commandment or constraint.”
- Verse 3. “Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints.”
- Verses 5-7. “Wine or strong drink” – meaning liquor “is not good” except “to offer up your sacraments” in which “pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make” is to be used. “Strong drinks” – meaning liquor containing alcohol “are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.”
- Verse 8. “Tobacco is not good for man, but is a herb for bruises and all sick cattle.”
- Verse 9. “hot drinks are not for the body or belly.”
- Verses 10-11. “Wholesome herbs and fruits” are to be eaten.
- Verses 12, 13, 15. “Flesh of beasts and of the fowls of the air” to be eaten “sparingly” and “only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine” “and excess of hunger.”
- Verses 14, 16, 17. “All grain and fruit” is approved for people and animals to eat. “Barley for mild drinks, as also other grain.”
The Section ends with a promise from the Lord to those who do these things and keep the commandments:
- Verse 18. “shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones.”
- Verse 19. “And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures.”
- Verse 20. “And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.”
- Verse 21. “that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them.”
The Word of Wisdom is taught to be a true test of an LDS member and their ultimate faithfulness to Christ and His inspired church leaders. In order, to be baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an individual is expected to give up these harmful substances and be willing to live the Word of Wisdom.