Word of Wisdom


Excerpt from a 1977 General Conference address by Gordon B. Hinckley: 1

“The so-called Mormon code of health, widely praised in these days of cancer and heart research, is in reality a revelation given to Joseph Smith in 1833 as a “Word of Wisdom” from the Lord. (D&C 89:1.) In no conceivable way could it have come of the dietary literature of the time, nor from the mind of the man who announced it. Today, in terms of medical research, it is a miracle, whose observance has saved incalculable suffering and premature death for uncounted tens of thousands.”


Wine and Strong Drink

???? D&C 89 – 1833 2

5 That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.

???? Means of Preserving Health, and Preventing Diseases – 3

P. 31 Those who indulge in wine and strong liquors, are, also, often afflicted with that painful and excruciating disorder, the gravel, which rarely yields to the power of any medicine hitherto discovered.”
P. 31 Means of Preserving Health, and Preventing Diseases… Wine…when drunk frequently and copiously, it generally, sooner or later, injures the constitution, or renders it subject to inflammatory diseases. It is a powerful stimulant, the long continued use of which, rarely fails to induce debility. Hence, great wine-drinkers, somewhat advanced in life, are generally low-spirited, and often afflicted with a long train of hypochondrical symptoms and incurable diseases…
P. 34 [Concerning distilled spirits] their frequent and excessive use is not only unnecessary, but highly injurious; and has destroyed thousands; perhaps more than either pestilence, famine, or the sword. I need not, therefore, take much pains to show their evil consequences, either in a medical, political, moral, or religious point of view;

???? Journal of Health – 1830 4

P. 38 …strong drinks, which soon leads to intemperance and drunkenness.


Hot Drinks

???? D&C 89 – 1833

9 And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.

???? Means of Preserving Health, and Preventing Diseases – 1806

P. 92 It is supposed, that tea contains a volatile, cordial, or reviving principle; which, if admitted is nothing in favour of its wholesomeness for constant use; for powers of a stimulant nature, when long continued, are sure to be followed by an atonic or debilitated state of the stomach; and, finally, of the whole constitution. Many cheaper and more innocent substitutes may be found in our own country; which, if prepared in a similar manner, should be used rather cool than hot.
P. 99 It is rare to see great and constant drinkers of strong tea and coffee, somewhat advanced in life, who have not some symptoms of weakness, tremors, or indigestion: wherefore, it is judged, that the great number and increase of paralytic, nervous, and hypochondriac diseases are, in part, to be attributed to the frequent and excessive use of those articles, drunk in a hot and strong state.
P. 99 Did women know the train of diseases induced by debility, and how disagreeable these diseases render them to the other sex, they would shun tea as the most deadly poison. No man can love a woman eaten up with vapours…Avoid, likewise, the excessive use of hot drinks, such as coffee, chocolate, and tea, particularly the last, in which the inhabitants of this country indulge more than any other beverage

???? Journal of Health – 1830

P. 18 Mrs.___complains of sick headache,—she cannot sleep, she is nervous and unhappy. Advise her to give up drinking coffee and green tea, and to take a walk in the open air everyday.
P. 211 Even the use of coffee and tea must, in many cases, be discontinued.
P. 332 I gave up at once the use of tea, coffee, and animal food.
P. 351 You are better without coffee, tea, or chocolate.



???? D&C 89 – 1833

8 And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.

???? Means of Preserving Health, and Preventing Diseases – 1806

P. 226 In no one view, is it possible to contemplate the creature man in a more absurd and ridiculous light; than in his attachment to tobacco. This weed is of a stimulating nature, whether it be used in smoking, chewing, or in snuff…
P. 226 The progress of habit in the use of tobacco is exactly the same as in the use of spirituous liquors. The slaves of it begin by using it only after dinner; then during the whole afternoon and evening; afterwards, before dinner; then before breakfast; and, finally, during the whole night.
P. 226 The oil of tobacco is of so active and virulent a nature, that a few drops of it have proven fatal.
P. 226 This plant is possessed of narcotic properties, by which it produces, in those who first begin to smoke it, giddiness, cold sweats, vomiting, purging;

???? Journal of Health – 1830

P. 37 Tobacco is, in fact, an absolute poison.
P. 329 That few substances arecapable of exerting effects so sudden and destructive as this poisonous plant [tobacco].



???? D&C 89 – 1833

12 Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;
13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

???? Means of Preserving Health, and Preventing Diseases – 1806

P. 108 A reason for avoiding much animal food, especially in cities, and during the summer season, is, that a great part of the fresh meat brought to market, becomes overheated and feverish by long keeping…and some, perhaps, has already undergone the incipient stage of putrefaction before it is cooked…It is therefore, recommended to all in hot seasons and climates, to abstain from much animal food…
P. 119 …although animal food may be admissible by the human economy…for the most part, a small portion of it only is necessary; that the very temperate and sparing use of it is the surest means of preserving health, and obtaining long life; whilst the large use of it tends to the production of diseases…
P. 114 Melted fat, or the drippings of baked and roasted meat, are equally, if not more, pernicious to the stomach than even stale butter, and both ought to be used only for greasing cart-wheels, and not for injuring human organs.

???? Journal of Health – 1830

P. 351 Meat and fish ought to be used sparingly,
P. 15 …the large majority of mankind do not eatany animal food, or so sparingly, and at such long intervals, that it cannot be said to form their nourishment. Millions in Asia are sustained by rice alone…



Additional Study

A Historical Analysis of the Word of Wisdom, BYU – http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=6038&context=etd
Temperance Movement – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temperance_movement


1 Joseph the Seer, Gordon B. Hinckley – https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1977/04/joseph-the-seer?lang=eng
2 Doctrine Covenants 89, The Word of Wisdom – https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/89?lang=eng
3 1806 Means of preserving health, and preventing diseases, 1806, Ricketson, Shadrach – https://archive.org/details/meansofpreservin00rick
4 Journal of Health, 1830 – https://archive.org/details/journalofhealth01slsn