Mormon History Podcast: 010: Word of Wisdom

Today I talk about Historical events surrounding the current Section 89 in the Doctrine and Covenants called the Word of Wisdom.



Oliver Cowdery Journal: https://eadview.lds.org/findingaid/MS%203429 (Journal Page 5)

Chastised for not blessing: A President of the Elders’ Quorum, old father Baker, was called upon to visit a very sick woman, a sister in
the Church; they sent for him to lay hands upon her. It was a very sickly time, and there were scarcely a
person to attend upon the sick, for nearly all were afflicted. Father Baker was one of those tenacious, ignorant,
self-willed, over-righteous Elders, and when he went into the house he enquired what the woman wanted.
She told him that she wished him to lay hands upon her. Father Baker saw a tea-pot on the coals, and
supposed that there was tea in it, and immediately turned upon his heels, saying, “God don’t want me to lay
hands on those who do not keep the Word of Wisdom,” and he went out. He did not know whether the pot
contained catnip, penny-royal, or some other mild herb, and he did not wait for any one to tell him. That class
of people are ignorant and over-righteous, and they are not in the true line by any means.
JD 4:24, Brigham Young, August 17, 1856

Lobelia: If the Saints of God actually have the faith of the ancients, let them practise the doctrine in their works. A man
will tell me that he is a “Mormon,” that he believes in the faith of the ancients, when at the same time he
practises everything else but their religion. My rule is to practise our religion. If I want a drink of catnip tea, or
of composition, or of lobelia, it is all right, but I will first practise my religion. You know that it is hardly
allowable in Utah to drink any more than five gallons of lobelia at once, for the Assembly of Deseret once had
the matter under consideration.
JD 2:276, Jedediah M. Grant, March 11, 1855

Juvinile Instructor 1866 Tea/Coffee and Meat in Summer: https://archive.org/stream/juvenileinstruct13geor#page/n3/mode/2up/

Poisoning: It may seem incredible especially to the young people of the Latter day Saints that men could be so wicked as to seek to destroy the Saints by poisoning them but such has been the case and but for the preserving care of God and their observance of the Word of Wisdom many would have died thus from poison placed by their enemies in tea coffee or other liquors which they were expected to drink The only absolute safety from such disaster is in entire abstinence from those things which our Heavenly Father declares are not good.


Beer (Mild Drinks): 

Prophet,   under   date   of  April   19,  1843, states: “Levi  Richards  is one of the best  physicians  anyone  was ever ac-quainted  with.”   On  December  15, 1843, the Prophet  journalized  as   follows:     “I  was  seized   with   dryness   of  mouth  and  throat,  sickness  of  stomach,  and vomited  freely;  my wife  waited  on me, assisted  by my scribe, Dr. Willard  Richards, and his brother  Levi,  who   administered   to  me  herbs  and  mild   drinks.     Revived  by  evening.  . .” http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/journal-december-1842-june-1844-book-3-15-july-1843-29-february-1844/204

HOPS- https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=2589609#contents


21 thoughts on “Mormon History Podcast: 010: Word of Wisdom

  1. Focus on quality not quantity. Don’t bother producing weekly.
    I do appreciate you synthesizing information for the masses.

    I wish there was more info on this topic as I’m sure there are tons.
    Perhaps making a theme each month spending a whole time going deep on subjects that we would perhaps otherwise. Word of Wisdom is dear to the heart of all us church members.

  2. One more note…
    The church isn’t doing a good enough job giving things a positive spin. It seems more often than not that our prophets and apostles need all the help they can get.

    So balancing your own perspectives with positives will also be much appreciated.

    • I think there are other podcasts out there that focus on the positive. What is maybe hard with mine is that I don’t really talk about what’s going on today but more historically.

      I like your idea with the monthly topic. I will see on how I can work that in.

      There are topics that I have been researching out for months and months now trying to break ground. I am restricted by either lack of digital public display, records or “closed to research” by the Church.

      Thanks David

  3. I am really enjoying your podcast. I agree with what was stated above about focusing on quality over quantity. I think releasing an episode every few weeks is great! As opposed to what was asked for above, I prefer a more critical view of the history. Keep up the good work!

    • @Talia,

      Thanks for your comments. I agree with quality over quantity. I think the next ones will be a series. I don’t know how many parts it will end up being but it is going to be a mix of deep thought and history and there is going to be a lot of time and research put in to hopefully make it something worth listening to.

      Part of the reason I was aiming to do a weekly episode, was (2) fold. 1) Gain listener-ship and have something they look for on Tuesday. 2) Since I have so many subjects and ideas that come about, it is a way to clear it out of my head 🙂

      I am excited to get these next episodes out over the next Month or so and we will see if I can organize the 1st one by Tuesday 🙂

  4. I once googled ‘hot drinks stomach’ in reference to ‘hot drinks are not for the belly’ and discovered hot drinks are related to esophageal cancer.

    My opinion is the scripture refers specifically to temperature, not actual food/drink items.

    • Kaylyn,
      While that is true, and while at times they have stated all hot drinks and hot soups, somewhere it shifted to imported types and not hot drinks in and of themselves.

  5. Thanks for the historical info, stories and quotes!
    I was writing a booklet on “The Wholesome Word of Wisdom” but stopped once I started researching history to add to the booklet to make it more faith promoting in supporting God’s wholesome herbs and foods for health and wisdom. I found a huge mess and battle in history over making Christ’s unconstrained WoW into a refined, constrained commandment, against the eternal wisdom of verse 2, which will never fail.

    I found an infighting mess steeped in trying to force goodness through contradictions which would later lead to adopting those warned of evils and designs. Those evils and designs are sadly being worshiped in the church today instead of being avoided, and they go far, far beyond 4 refined don’ts. I stopped writing the booklet because I thought I might get heavy ridicule and attack for exposing sacred Food and Drug Industry idols among saints and leaders. Well, I guess they would no longer crucify me for that, but many would certainly want to burn me at the stake (center). Matt 23 in our day? Maybe we should look at early leaders’ actions as an addition to their historical recorded word teachings on what the real Word of Wisdom meant back then and might just still possibly mean today?

    I’m an herbalist. Catnip and lobelia are both nervine herbs which calm and settle the nerves and the stomach. Very useful, non-toxic and far better than prescription and OTC drugs, part of what’s warned of in verse 4. Lobelia is particularly valuable since it has such a wide variety for calming and actual healing effects. It also synergizes the effect of other herbs for accelerated healing and rebuilding. No poisonous synthesized prescriptions or refined foods today can do that. They have zero capacity to rebuild, regenerate, “nourish and strengthen our bodies” to heal.

    Brigham tea is very valuable too (cheaper than non healing drugs) and is one of the few herbs which Brigham said would help save us from plagues of the last days. Drugs, vaccines and antibiotics can’t even compete with natural for this either. Why do the saints now worship the doctor, vaccines and poisonous meds and refined toxified foods warned against in verse 4? Why do the saints largely ignore the warnings of the early prophets and leaders on this too? Men in power naturally try to twist and change everything, to force goodness, including the WoW – D&C 121. By their fruits…

    Most leaders and people back then were not breaking the WoW by using coffee, tea, tobacco or alcohol. The WoW still had Christ’s original intent, and it’s still spelled out if you care to read section 89 again and pray about it. Please take off your 4-don’ts blinders first, if you will. Men twisting the WoW into a forbidden commandment, and highly refined to just 4 don’ts, defies Christ’s wholesome WoW (D&C 46:7). Why do you think all govts and churches failed in the BoM (no exceptions)?

    There was a 70 year battle against the 5 early prophets. Other leaders and members pressured them to make the WoW into a commandment contrary to verse 2. All 5 refused to make it a commandment, even with all the pressure. They warned that making it into a commandment would “become a stumbling bock to the saints,” as it surely has. We see saints sick all around us in church and some too sick and dying to make it out to church. Brigham and Joseph visited such sick saints and counselled them to use foods and herbs to heal and to stay away from the chemical doctors, even fofer priesthood blessings, and to avoid surgeons too. They are well know for saying that good foods and herbs make most surgeries unneeded. True today especially.

    I find it beyond strange that most of these sick and dying saints among us today are keeping the “WoW” religiously, so they believe, but are mysteriously not getting the wonderful health and wisdom promises of verses 18-21… Has God reneged on this principle with a promise for health and wisdom? Or has man?

    The sick and dying , and the rest of the sheeple, obediently keep following leaders and doctors, and following their warned of wares in D&C 89:4. They are self inflicting the very warned of evils and designs, poisoning by food and medicine. The latter killed Joseph’s brother Alvin. Today’s sick and dying saints “need” more more “medicine” and more surgeries, which they would not need if they could just see the real WoW, so they could then possibly choose by their own will to use the admonished foods and herbs to obtain those promises, by also avoiding the predators and their wares.

    Verse 2 is still to this very day telling us that the WoW can never be by commandment nor constrained. That means forced, coerced, shamed, guilted, punished, judged nor be guardian to all ordinances, and entry to the celestial kingdom, and fellowship in his kingdom on this earth. In the WoW’s currently worshipped, refined (toxic?) counterfeit form (the other brother’s plan…) it cannot be constrained or commanded in Christ’s own wholesome form of thosuands of Do’
    s and don’ts. It would still become a phariseical ever changing letter of the law growing huge list of do’s and don’ts).

    The WoW is for our temporal salvation, yet the meaning has been twisted by men and made into the very sentinel for our immortal spiritual salvation, the guardian of even entry to the church, a patriarchal blessing, all ordinances and also entry to the celestial kingdom itself and sealing to an eternal mate and family, etc… Alma 31, anyone?

    Is this blasphemy against Christ’s words to disregard his meaning of “greeting, love and warning” in favor the letter of the law commandments of men? Is this how Pharisees can call others blasphemers if they question their commandments of men?

    The refined 4 don’ts don’t compare to the damage of the Food & Drug Industrial Complex’s growing thousands of outright poison and synthetic medicines, foods and vaccines which Jesus really tried again and again to warn us of. Do we have eyes to see or ears to hear, Him, before leaders changing their minds ceaselessly, and His words?

    We’ve been robbed of the meaning of verse 4 by the distraction, or magician’s slight of hand, in presenting 4 distracting sacred don’ts which obscure the real warning. The WoW is and always will be about using God’s wholesome herbs and foods (verses 10,11 primarily) for health and wisdom, plus that central warning in verse 4 which we can’t see anymore for some strange reason. Or, can we now see verse 4 as a warning, just as Brigham and JS warned incessantly to stay away from unhealthy foods and esp the chemical doctors (who are “wiser than God”)?

    One common mistake we hear, passed down endlessly, is that the WoW was made a commandment in 1852 in conference by Brigham Young. False!

    That is based on half truths which were embellished, and was never put before the body of the church for vote by common consent, but only two small groups, one of men, one of women who seem to have wanted to commit to observing the 4 don’ts, which runs contrary to his later words on making it a commandment being a bad thing. Brigham still refused on many more occasions to make it a commandment, the last recorded refusal to make it a commandment a year before his death in 1877. His quotes on this are still there, proving it was not made a commandment by him, nor by the next 3 prophets. After 3 more prophets who refused the same as JS and BY to make it binding as a constrained commandment on the church, attrition took its toll, and in 1902 the new prophet JFS made it a commandment by dictate, but still attributing BY as having already made it a commandment 50 years earlier. The leaders and saints were still divided after that too.

    This refined (thus toxic) form of “WoW” was strengthened by the coming Prohibition Movement and in 1920 further made more strict and constrained. After some time the state congress of Utah recognized prohibition as being a mistake and pushed for repeal. The church however could not back themselves out of the corner they’d religiously painted themselves into “by commandment and constraint” when prohibition was repealed because it made for worse problems.

    The WoW just became more and more dictatorial as time went on, and we lost all sight of the real central warning’s wholesome meaning of “growing thousands of food and medicine don’ts” – counterfeit, toxic foods and medicines in the last days and the warned of evil, conspiring hearts of the purveyors (“thus saith the Lord”) which purveyors and their wares we now follow religiously and worship?

    Sadly this is that prophesied “stumbling block to the saints.”
    But this does not even mention the uber-judgmentalness in the church against those who do not worship the 4 don’ts alone, which has become another sickening co-stumbling block to the saints, and persecution of those who do not worship the doctors, their very toxic meds, vaccines and mostly unneeded surgeries.

    Have we become blinded to God’s vast forest of health and wisdom by 4 sacred trees?

    • @Tom,
      Amen and Amen. I am sure you could sense my not so hidden sarcasm when it comes to Soda vs Coffee and Tea. I find it so interesting that members focus on the check boxes of the “avoid” while they load up their shopping carts with gallons upon gallons of Mountain Dew.

      I still think you should write the booklet!

      • I agree write the booklet, I would gladly read it up and share.
        Thank you for your rant (no sarcasm or pun intended).

      • I have seen some mormons awaken to the real word of wisdom halfway, to realize we are to eat wholesome foods, and this helps them lots (even President Nelson) but they still worship modern medicine which is based on and built around toxic drugs.

        Some write books on this, but most of these forget about herbs for wisdom and healing, which are the other half of the Word of Wisdom. All whole foods are herbs (verses 10, 11), but what we commonly call herbs are the most potent, nutrient packed wholesome foods which heal and detoxify for real medicine (“nourish and strengthen our bodies”).

        The half awake can’t quite make the rest of that jump to see the other half of the central warning against all counterfeit, refined and synthesized fake “medicines” and “foods” sold by the warned of Gadiantons in verse 4; Gadiantons which the church backs at least halfway, if not all the way.

        These half awake inspirational WoW authors must heed the warnings by church leaders (and not offend them with Christ’s Truths) to stay away from herbs which are dangerous or “for witchcraft” and are not authorized by govt officials for healing, but to use only their vast growing array of nothing but poisons for “healing…”

        When things get line upon line turned around bassackwards and against Christ we are supposed to not question, or we are blasphemers.

      • Its just really frustrating to see the truth finally and realize it took so long to see it because leaders won’t share the truth so we can see to choose for ourselves what to follow, men/Gadiantons or the loving advice from Jesus? They can’t admit and correct their perpetuated century old mistake of commanding us to worship “4 sacred trees” as our passport to the kingdom on earth and heaven, which is blasphemy. “Sent by greeting, not by commandment or constraint.” We don’t have to eat and heal Jesus’ way, it’s a choice, not by constraint, guilt or shame or punnishment or ridicule.

      • It has come to my attention, once again, that President Nelson follows a strict personal choice diet which just happens to be in accordance with the real WoW! OH MY!

        He reminded some friends years ago that this is due to personally observing the bad effects of poor diet on thousands of his surgery patients’ hearts and arteries, up close and personal (IOW, lets not say it out loud, that they would not need most surgeries if they used Christ’s diet and herbs for health, healing and Wisdom as per the real WoW).

        The expected effects of his good diet reflects on his exceptional physical and mental health at age 93, much like the 7th Day Adventists (or our real WoW which surpasses even their wise dietary code which far surpasses our refined version of the “WoW”…).

        But, Pres Nelson only lives Half of the real WoW (and we should not judge him – as per verse 2 and the early prophets). He unfortunately still leads the saints in worshiping the chemical and surgery doctors which verse 4 and also the early prophets warned us of over and over, with Jesus. Surgery is seldom needed if we listen to Jesus and use His wholesome Herbs and Foods for health, healing and wisdom.

        Still, even with this, we should not judge him or others for observing this (or worshipping just the 4-don’ts counterfeit?) as per verse 2 and the early prophets, and Jesus.

        Pres Nelson has made a Great Start with the excellent diet though, but, I’m certain he will continue to not relate even his diet to the saints as being what the real word of wisdom is about, not 4 Sacred Don’ts after all, which then might commit him to the the wholesome Herb part of the real WoW too (verses 10,11)? Too risky for him to stand for Jesus too?

        But, a prophet should warn us of poisonous refined and synthetic “foods” as being in accordance with Christ’s own Wise Words, but also warn us of poisonous refined “medicines” and vaccines, and the horse they rode up on (verse 4), AMA, FDA, APA, CDC…

        1- How can we expect to heal anything (or gain wisdom) using a growing “approved” arsenal of nothing but poisons? Why do leaders remind us to follow these conspiring men and their wares, in memos and from the pulpit from time to time, and remind us to stay the heck away from God’s own wholesome “dangerous herbs (“of witchcraft…”)” which all of our early prophets told us to stick with, even before priesthood blessings, and to stay clear of the chemical poison “doctors?”
        Anyone? Any leader???

        2- How does (Marxist) No Liability/Accountability (red flag – not of Jesus forced goodness and abhorring accountability for supposed “Leaders”) for vaccine companies make their warned of wares (verse 4) Safer OR More Effective? Anyone? Any leader???

  6. Great Work! Do you have the reference for the quote you read regarding not drinking hot soups? Thanks!

    • On 9 September 1851, Brigham Young had a Church Conference covenant to accept and obey the Word of Wisdom as a commandment (and also to accept excommunication for non-payment of tithing). (Quinn 1997:749). It does not appear to have been enforced.

      The concept of the Word of Wisdom, as it applied in the mid eighteen hundreds, is evidence of yet another evolving, rather than specific, principle which is here expressed differently to that which is accepted today. Early saints considered hot chocolate, cocoa, hot soup and pig’s meat included in the list of proscribed items. Nothing anywhere explains why they are now acceptable.

      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 are also told that alcoholic drinks are not good, and that tobacco when either smoked or chewed is an evil. We are told that swine’s flesh is not good, and that we should dispense with it; and we are told that flesh of any kind is not suitable to man in the summer time, and ought to be eaten sparingly in the winter…

      …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. (JD. V.12:221&223. George Q. Cannon 7 Apr 1868).

      • Brigham still refused over and over, right up to 1876, the pressures from many leaders and saints to make the 4-don’ts into a commandment (which is Not the wholesome WoW anyway). He said right up to a year before his death that making it a commandment would become a stumbling block to the saints. And it has become terribly so, both in piss poor failing health and utter lack of wisdom, and in self righteousness and judgmentalness beyond belief.

        • Quinn, as good as he is, simply did not get the full story there. He abbreviated it, did not look at surrounding or supporting and denying facts and quotes, and therefore her erroneously passed on this incorrect version of a snippet of history with a twist of bias as some want it told to still reinforce the “by commandment and constraint” coercion of a counterfeit WoW (Real version gist: D&C 89: 2-4,10,11 – “IN with God’s wholesome Herbs and Foods, OUT with the coming flood of poison counterfeits, and the horse they ride up on. and NO judging, commanding, constraining, shunning, shaming, punishing… BTW…”).

          Quinn’s account is not in proper context. The “vote” was Not in general conference, but a confernece for men and then a separate conference for women, not as general conference nor the body of the church (often misquoted and requoted as such – hard to kill a lie that can be so easily found to requote.).

          This happens lots in researching history which none of us always get right either. Context does often show right up once we put it in writing, share it and someone tells us what we left out, for which we can all be thankful, sometimes.

          But, the rest of the out of context part is, he did not research Brigham’s later personal actions, moves and statements which are all still Against making the 4-Don’ts (“WoW”) a commandment for his next 25 years after that, confirming that he still opposed making it a constrained, judged commandment.

          The next 3 prophets reinforced Brigham’s and Joseph’s firm stand on this too, long after 1851. The call to This is in agreement EVen in Brigham’s last recorded statement against a WoW commandment up to the year before his death in 1877.

          Some historians also take the Brigham-WoW lie of Joseph F. Smith (the real culprit) who actually did make the refined version into a false and ever since fatal commandment – “a stumbling block to the saints” as prophesied by JFS’ predecessors. Now, there’s a Real prophecy! And JFS blamed forcing the refined WoW on Brigham 51 years earlier to avoid the heat from those still opposing it, and using Woodruff’s words (additionally reinforced by himself to reinforce his own unquestionable Authority) to never question the prophet because “God will never let His prophet lead you astray! it’s not in His program.”

          The following prophets further ramped up strict adherence to their “WoW” as prohibition become more popular. Utah was among the strongest supporters, and later among the strongest to repeal prohibition due to the expected corruption from such force, but kept the even more damaging “WoW” and forced it even harder (the other brother’s plan?) to further prove “the prophet cannot err.”

          So many sick and dying around us in church (often too sick to make it out to church), but, they “religiously live the “WoW”” and somehow they are not getting the promises…???

          God reneged on his wonderful promises to our most faithful brothers and sisters (verses 18-21)? Or, men/Leaders put false words in God’s mouth, again, and cant get out of another corner they’ve painted themselves infallibly into…?

          Quinn’s works are very valuable though. We do have to notice clues of authenticity at times though, and more than plenty are there to invalidate the claim that Brigham and the body of the church made the WoW into a bogus commandment that never can be, lest the WoW violate itself and Christ by becoming “letter of the law” which then blinds us from His thousands of wholesome Do’s (Herbs and Foods) and growing thousands of poison Don’ts which Jesus fully intended for us to have “eyes to see and ears to hear,” Him (poison “foods,” vaccines, modern chemical poison “medicine” and the Gadianton horse they rode up on – verse 4).

          No historian, apologist or current LDS leader will or Can honestly answer these 2 vital questions regarding the Lord’s wholesome Words of Wisdom, and His central gist He put in verses 2-4,10,11:

          1- How can we expect to heal anything (or gain wisdom) using a growing “approved” arsenal of nothing but poisons? Why do leaders remind us to follow these conspiring men and their wares, in memos and from the pulpit from time to time, and remind us to stay the heck away from God’s own wholesome “dangerous herbs (“of witchcraft…”)” which all of our early prophets told us to stick with, even to use herbs and foods before priesthood blessings, and to stay clear of the chemical poison “doctors?”
          Anyone? Any leader???

          2- How does No Liability/Accountability (Marxist – a literal “Red flag” – not of Jesus) granted to vaccine companies make their warned of wares (verse 4) Safer OR More Effective? Anyone? Any leader??? Jesus said. Why are we still arguing with Him on His Wise Words?

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