A Word of Wisdom, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion—
To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days—
Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints. (Doctrine and Covenants 89:1-3)
In the early days of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Prophet Joseph Smith was led to inquire of God on the use of tobacco and alcohol by members of the church. This inquiry led to the revelation Latter-day Saints call the “Word of Wisdom.”
This revelation has 3 key parts: A proscription on the use of strong drinks, wine, tobacco and “hot drinks” (later decreed by the leaders of the church to refer to coffee and tea); A listing of food fit for the use of man and beast; And a promise to those who follow this word of wisdom.
At the time of this revelation, it was given as strong suggestion rather than a commandment. It wasn’t until much later during the time Brigham Young was prophet that the leaders of the church were inspired to make the proscription portion a requirement for temple access.
As Latter-day Saints we have a duty to live by this Word of Wisdom. However, we do not have a right to force others to do the same. Continue reading