Topical Guide/Doctrinal issues/Word of Wisdom

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Changes in the way the Word of Wisdom was implemented over time

History and implementation of the Word of Wisdom

Summary: Observance of the Word of Wisdom has changed over time, due to on-going revelation from modern-day prophets, who put greater emphasis on certain elements of the revelation originally given to Joseph Smith. Early Latter-day Saints were not under the same requirements as today's Saints are.

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Water instead of wine for the Sacrament

Summary: Why does the LDS Church use water instead of wine for its sacrament services? The Doctrine and Covenants even allows for wine to be used, despite the Word of Wisdom's prohibitions on alcohol.

Heber J. Grant and changes to the Word of Wisdom


Joseph Smith and the Word of Wisdom

History and implementation of the Word of Wisdom

Summary: Observance of the Word of Wisdom has changed over time, due to on-going revelation from modern-day prophets, who put greater emphasis on certain elements of the revelation originally given to Joseph Smith. Early Latter-day Saints were not under the same requirements as today's Saints are.

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Joseph Smith and the early implementation of the Word of Wisdom

Summary: Joseph Smith implemented a moderate implementation of the Word of Wisdom, and not the more strict standard known to members today.

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Joseph Smith drank wine in Carthage jail?

Summary: Joseph Smith and those who were with him drank wine in Carthage Jail prior to his martyrdom. Did Joseph violate the Word of Wisdom?

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Joseph Smith used tea

Summary: Joseph Smith drank tea, and it is claimed that he encouraged others to do so. Did Joseph violate the Word of Wisdom?

Joseph Smith procured tobacco prior to the martyrdom

Summary: It is claimed Joseph arranged for some tobacco to be brought to Willard Richards in Carthage Jail just prior to his murder. Did Joseph violate the Word of Wisdom?

Almon Babbitt followed Joseph in violating the Word of Wisdom

Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith violated the Word of Wisdom, and that another member (Almon W. Babbitt) followed his example.

Joseph Smith sold liquor in Nauvoo

Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith sold liquor in Nauvoo. Is this evidence that he either didn't believe the Word of Wisdom was from God, or was hypocritical about it?


Brigham Young and the Word of Wisdom

Did Brigham Young violate the Word of Wisdom?

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Did Brigham Young encourage others to violate the Word of Wisdom?

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Modern day implementation of the Word of Wisdom

Are we violating the Word of Wisdom if we do not eat meat sparingly?

Summary: Do Latter-day Saints not keep the Word of Wisdom by eating meat "sparingly?"

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Cola drinks and caffeine

Summary: Are cola drinks (e.g. Coke, Pepsi, Dr Pepper) and other drinks containing caffeine forbidden to members of the Church?

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What are "hot drinks?"

Summary: Why are "hot drinks" forbidden by the Word of Wisdom? Why do members now restrict these instructions to coffee and tea?

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Wine and alcoholic beverages

Summary: Since the Word of Wisdom teaches us to abstain from alcohol, why did Paul encourage Timothy to drink wine for the stomach?

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Accusations of hypocrisy in Church practices related to the Word of Wisdom

Summary: Some claim that the Church, as a corporate entity, controls business properties that are not consistent with its stated purposes. Examples include claims that the Church owns controlling stock in the Coca-Cola company, stock in tobacco companies and stock in alcohol companies.

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