For almost two centuries the Word of Wisdom is solid proven evidence to many members that the Church is true.
Jeff Lindsay [The Word of Wisdom] outlines principles of healthy living that go far beyond the scientific knowledge of the 1800s and much of this century…The 1833 dietary guidelines sound much like the recommended “food pyramid” produced by federally-funded research in the past decade.
For me and perhaps many of you it has been one of those solid concepts that when you feel rickety about some of the doctrine you can always count on the solid foundations of the word of wisdom.
What I never was taught though that before the word of wisdom there was the Temperance Movement.
In 1826 Marcus Morton had founded the American Temperance Society June, 1830, the Millenial Harbinger quoted in full, and with the hearty personal endorsement of Alexander Campbell, an article from the Philadelphia “Journal of Health,” The above in turn was quoting a widely circulated book, “The Simplicity of Health,” which article most strongly condemned the use of alcohol, tobacco, the eating intemperately of meats.
Fascinating Facts on the Word of Wisdom/ Temperance Movement (The last one being the most fascinating of them all)
The church today interprets hot drinks to mean tea and coffee, although there is evidence that in the early history of the church all hot drinks were forbidden.
Word of Wisdom is by Lester Bush (physician). He shows how, contrary to recent assertions, the Word of Wisdom was actually what “medical science” in the 1820s and 1830s preached. Bush claims that the Word of Wisdom would have been far more useful (and prophetic) to the 19th Century Mormons had it included instructions to use only clean water and to adequately dispose of waste. In fact, “hot drinks” and some alcoholic beverages may have saved the lives of many 19th Century Mormons had they drank them instead of the unsanitary water in Nauvoo, along the plains, and in Utah.
Although church leaders stress some portions of Joseph Smith’s Word of Wisdom, other portions are almost completely ignored. Mormon writer John J. Stewart observed: “The admonition to eat little meat is largely ignored, as are some other points of the revelation”
Temperance Societies were organized in great numbers during the early thirties, six thousand being formed in one year
The Temperance Society succeeded in eliminating a distillery in Kirtland on February 1, 1833, just twenty-seven days before the Latter-day Saint revelation counseling abstinence was announced, and that the distillery at Mentor, near Kirtland, was also closed at the same time (Brigham Young University Studies, Winter 1959, pp.39-40).
On October 6, 1830, the Kirtland Temperance Society was organized with two hundred thirty nine members. Among its members were listed a George Smith, several Morleys, a Wells, a Coe, and a Lyman. names all associated with the history of Mormonism
A few years before the Word of Wisdom, Robert Owen had abolished the use of ardent spirits in his community at New Harmony.
Whitney R. Cross points out that “the temperance movement … began much earlier… During the 1830’s it attained national scope. … Further, if alcohol was evil because it frustrated the Lord’s design for the human body, other drugs like tea, coffee, and tobacco must be equally wrong … Josiah Bissell…. had even before the 1831 revival ‘got beyond Temperance to the Cold Water Society—no tea, coffee or any other slops.’ “
Joseph tested the saints to make sure their testimonies were of his religion and not of him as a personable leader. Amasa Lyman of the first Presidency related Joseph Smith trying the faith of the saints many times by his peculiarities. At one time he had preached a powerful sermon on the word of wisdom and immediately thereafter he rode through the streets of Nauvoo smoking a cigar. http://patriot.lib.byu.edu/cdm4/document.phpCISOROOT=/MTGM&CISOPTR=3327&CISOSHOW=3264
Do you have a problem with the temperance movement being, so to speak, the forefather to the word of wisdom?
If the Word of Wisdom was derived from the Temperance movement does that make it feel a little less inspired to you?
If the Word of Wisdom was derived from the Temperance Movement why don’t we show it in the manuals?
Can you still count on the solid foundations of the word of wisdom or does the Temperance Movement make it feel rickety?
Does it really matter where the word of wisdom came from – it’s a net positive if you live it?