Word of Wisdom

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The Word of Wisdom

This page is a summary or index. More detailed information on this topic is available on the sub-pages below.

The people there are living in the United Order, as also in Brigham City and St. Joseph, and while I was in those settlements I never heard an oath, I never saw a quarrel, I never saw any man or boy smoke a cigarette, or use an ounce of tobacco, or drink whiskey, or drink a cup of coffee or tea, except what I drank myself. The idea of drinking coffee where nobody else was drinking it was a very poor example, I thought, for an Apostle; I therefore took, instead of coffee, water and milk, and have felt a great deal better. The promise is that those who keep the Word of Wisdom "shall run and not be weary, shall walk and not faint," and I can say I have enjoyed much better health than before.
Wilford Woodruff, Conference Report 1880, 11. off-site

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responds to these questions

"Selected Church Policies and Guidelines 21.3.11," Handbook 2: Administering the Church—2010 (Intellectual Reserve, 2010).


The only official interpretation of “hot drinks” (D&C 89:9) in the Word of Wisdom is the statement made by early Church leaders that the term “hot drinks” means tea and coffee. Members should not use any substance that contains illegal drugs. Nor should members use harmful or habit-forming substances except under the care of a competent physician.



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



History and implementation of the Word of Wisdom


Brief 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. (Click here for full article)
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Water instead of wine for the Sacrament


Brief 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. (Click here for full article)
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Heber J. Grant and changes to the Word of Wisdom

(Click here for full article)
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Joseph Smith and the Word of Wisdom



History and implementation of the Word of Wisdom


Brief 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. (Click here for full article)
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Joseph Smith drank wine in Carthage jail?


Brief 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? (Click here for full article)
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Joseph Smith used tea


Brief Summary: Joseph Smith drank tea, and it is claimed that he encouraged others to do so. Did Joseph violate the Word of Wisdom? (Click here for full article)
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Joseph Smith procured tobacco prior to the martyrdom


Brief 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? (Click here for full article)
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Almon Babbitt followed Joseph in violating the Word of Wisdom


Brief Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith violated the Word of Wisdom, and that another member (Almon W. Babbitt) followed his example. (Click here for full article)
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Joseph Smith sold liquor in Nauvoo


Brief 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? (Click here for full article)
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Brigham Young and the Word of Wisdom



Brigham Young and tobacco


Brief Summary: It is claimed that Brigham Young used snuff, tobacco, and tea, thus violating the Word of Wisdom. (Click here for full article)
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Brigham Young's whiskey distillery


Brief Summary: Brigham had a whiskey distillery in Utah. Was Brigham encouraging others to violate the Word of Wisdom and showing his hypocrisy by doing so? (Click here for full article)
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Growing tobacco in Utah


Brief Summary: Brigham Young instructed members of the Church to grow tobacco in Utah. Was Brigham violating the Word of Wisdom? (Click here for full article)
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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?


Brief Summary: Do Latter-day Saints not keep the Word of Wisdom by eating meat "sparingly?" (Click here for full article)
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Cola drinks and caffeine


Brief Summary: Are cola drinks (e.g. Coke, Pepsi, Dr Pepper) and other drinks containing caffeine forbidden to members of the Church? (Click here for full article)
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Tea morally wrong?


Brief Summary: Because of the Word of Wisdom, do members of the Church really believe that drinking tea (or alcohol, etc.) is "morally wrong"? (Click here for full article)
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Consumption of tea may bar someone from the Celestial Kingdom?


Brief Summary: Joseph Fielding Smith stated that the consumption of tea may bar someone from the celestial kingdom. (Click here for full article)
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What are "hot drinks?"


Brief Summary: Why are "hot drinks" forbidden by the Word of Wisdom? Why do members now restrict these instructions to coffee and tea? (Click here for full article)
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Wine for the stomach?


Brief Summary: Since the Word of Wisdom teaches us to abstain from alcohol, why did Paul encourage Timothy to drink wine for the stomach? (Click here for full article)
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Accusations of hypocrisy in Church practices related to the Word of Wisdom


Brief 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. (Click here for full article)
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Jesus drank wine


Brief Summary: We know from the Bible that Jesus drank wine. How do we reconcile this with the Word of Wisdom? (Click here for full article)
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Further reading and additional sources responding to these claims

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