Church History
Joseph Smith’s Revelations, Doctrine and Covenants 89

“Doctrine and Covenants 89,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)

“Doctrine and Covenants 89,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers

Doctrine and Covenants 89

Revelation, 27 February 1833

Source Note

Revelation, Kirtland Township, OH, 27 Feb. 1833. Featured version, titled “A Word of Wisdom,” copied [ca. June 1833] in Sidney Gilbert, Notebook, [113]–[115]; handwriting of Sidney Gilbert; Revelations Collection, CHL. Includes archival marking. For more information, see the source note for Sidney Gilbert, Notebook, on the Joseph Smith Papers website.

Historical Introduction

While no contemporaneous sources describing the circumstances under which JS dictated this 27 February 1833 revelation have been located, later accounts indicate that it was recorded in connection with the activities of the School of the Prophets. According to Brigham Young, heavy tobacco use—in the form of both smoking and chewing—among members of the school, combined with Emma Smith’s and others’ complaints about cleaning tobacco juice from the floor, led JS “to inquire of the Lord with regard to use of tobacco” and “to the conduct of the elders with this particular practice.”1 This revelation—composed largely of warnings and counsel regarding not only the use of tobacco, but also the consumption of various foods, “hot drinks,” wine, and “Strong drinks”—was the result of his inquiries. Known among church members as the “Word of Wisdom,” referring to the opening phrase of the text, the revelation was evidently recorded in JS’s translating room in Newel K. Whitney’s store. Zebedee Coltrin, who was present, recalled JS coming out of his translation room and reading the revelation to over twenty members of the school then in attendance.2 Joel Johnson added that the revelation was given in the evening.3

Whitney Store

Newel K. Whitney’s store in Kirtland, Ohio. 1907. In September 1832, Joseph Smith and his family moved into Newel K. Whitney’s store, situated along one of the main roads in Kirtland. Whitney had operated the store since 1823 and had distributed mail from it in his role as Kirtland’s postmaster since 29 December 1826. Smith completed much of his translation of the Bible in one of the upper rooms of the store, and the School of the Prophets regularly met in an upper room of the store as well. Emma Smith complained of the recurring need to clean tobacco spittle from the floor following meetings of the School of the Prophets, and on 27 February 1833 Joseph Smith dictated the revelation now known as the Word of Wisdom, instructing members to abstain from tobacco, alcohol, and “hot drinks.” (Church History Library, Salt Lake City. Photograph by George Edward Anderson.)

At the time this revelation was dictated, the temperance movement, as well as other dietary reform movements, was beginning to factor more prominently in American culture. Initially fueled by concerns about the physiological effects of alcohol, calls for more moderate, or temperate, use of alcohol,4 and even for complete abstinence, had become increasingly identified with Christian reform movements by this time and had resulted in the formation of thousands of temperance societies throughout the United States.5 In Kirtland, Ohio, the Kirtland Temperance Society, whose founding constitution boasted 239 signatories, held its first annual meeting on 6 October 1830, shortly before Latter-day Saint missionaries arrived in the area from New York.6 The society continued for five years, during which time a distillery at Kirtland and two in Mentor, Ohio, evidently closed for want of patronage.7 According to one reminiscent account, the society disbanded after many of the temperance workers moved away as the Latter-day Saint population in the area grew, suggesting that the Saints’ involvement with the society was limited.8

Arguments against the use of alcohol and other items, including tea, coffee, and tobacco, could be found in the religious, medical, and popular publications of the time, while arguments promoting the health value of other foods and drinks were also prevalent in the period’s literature.9 In January and February 1833, JS himself was subscribing to the American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer, an evangelical weekly that regularly published articles on temperance.10

The contents of this revelation appear to have been available to many church members within months after its recording. Sidney Gilbert made a private copy probably sometime in the summer of 1833 in Missouri, while Wilford Woodruff copied the revelation in the back of his personal copy of the Book of Commandments, probably before September 1835—when the Doctrine and Covenants, which contained this revelation, became available.11 It was also printed as a broadsheet around January 1834 in Kirtland.12 Charges against church members in Ohio and Pennsylvania for disobeying some of the revelation’s instruction surfaced in February 1834, within a year of the revelation’s dictation, while local church conferences as far away as New York and Maine were referencing the revelation by summer 1834.13 Eber D. Howe published the revelation in his book Mormonism Unvailed in 1834.14

Among the members of the Church of Christ there was apparently some question as to what the revelation meant by “hot drinks,” prompting JS and Hyrum Smith, according to one reminiscent account, to explicitly identify coffee and tea at a meeting in Kirtland in July 1833 as the “hot drinks” prohibited by the revelation.15 Similarly, opinions on how strictly the revelation’s instructions were to be followed appear to have differed among church members, probably as a result of the revelation’s opening statement that the Word of Wisdom was given “for the benefit” of church members, “not by commandment or Constraint.” Possibly complicating the situation were the different ways this statement was presented. With one possible exception, the earliest manuscript versions of this revelation present the opening statement as part of the revelation, as do the printed broadsheet and Howe’s Mormonism Unvailed.16 In the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, however, the opening paragraph appears as an italicized heading, allowing for the later interpretation that it was an introductory statement rather than part of the revelation proper and that, therefore, it was JS or one of his scribes, not God, who said the revelation was not a commandment.

In any event, the degree to which church members felt obligated to follow the revelation’s instructions varied. Some, like Zebedee Coltrin, Joel Johnson, and John Tanner, chose to abstain from tea, coffee, tobacco, and alcohol almost immediately;17 others, like JS’s wife Emma, who offered weary travelers tea and coffee upon their arrival in Kirtland in May 1833, apparently felt that using at least some of the items listed in the revelation was acceptable under some circumstances.18 A May 1835 letter from William W. Phelps to his wife, Sally Waterman Phelps—in which he spoke about the “sameness” of the Kirtland church members as they “drink cold water; and don’t even mention tea and Coffee”—suggests the revelation was more universally understood among church members by that time, although many exceptions continue to appear in the historical record.19

Many church members, for instance, apparently felt that it was acceptable for tea or alcohol to be taken medicinally.20 Emma may have offered tea and coffee to new arrivals with this idea in mind; JS’s administering whiskey in June 1834 to George A. Smith, who was suffering from cholera, almost certainly reflected such an interpretation.21 In spite of JS’s acquiescence with this practice, not everyone agreed with it. On 4 December 1836, for example, at the instigation of Sidney Rigdon, a meeting of church members in Kirtland voted unanimously to “discountenance the use intirely of all liquors from the Church in Sickness & in health.”22 Over the ensuing years, nevertheless, various church members, including JS, continued to allow for the use of these drinks in cases of sickness.23

JS and many others also allowed for a relaxed standard in adhering to the revelation’s instructions during times of unusual difficulty and hardship. While overseeing a mass exodus of church members from Kirtland in spring 1838, for example, the seventies drew up a “constitution” charging leaders to see that “the word of wisdom [was] heeded”—that is, that “no tobacco, tea, coffee, snuff nor ardent spirits of any kind, [were] taken internally.”24 Hyrum Smith, however, speaking a few days later, advised those leaving Kirtland “not to be too particular in regard to the word of wisdom,” though subsequent events suggest his counsel was largely ignored.25 Following the collective trauma of the forced exodus from Missouri in winter 1838–1839, the prohibitions of the Word of Wisdom generally received less emphasis than they had earlier. Helen Mar Kimball Whitney, in a reminiscent account, reported that JS told church members suffering from malaria in early Nauvoo to “make tea and drink it” when the river water was unsuitable for drinking and that he “often made tea and administered it with his own hands.”26 Perhaps the best illustration of a more relaxed position regarding the Word of Wisdom in times of stress is John Taylor’s account of events leading to JS’s death at Carthage, Illinois, in June 1844, in which he noted that JS and his companions, who were feeling “unusually dull and languid” after several days of incarceration, drank some wine to raise their spirits.27

In accordance with the revelation’s provision that homemade wine could be taken when church members met “to offer up [their] sacrament” before God, church members continued to use wine, generally fermented, in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.28 This same provision, coupled with the understanding that a sacrament was something “having a sacred character or function,”29 probably accounts for the times JS and others drank wine on several other occasions as well, including at the School of the Prophets, in various meetings held in the Kirtland temple, and at weddings.30 By the Nauvoo era, JS was more frequently making exceptions to the general observance of the Word of Wisdom that were not linked with health issues, hardship, or sacred functions, possibly indicating a more relaxed attitude on his part toward things like tea and wine.31 JS’s journal for 11 March 1843, for example, indicates that he “had tea with his breakfast.” Two months later, on 3 May 1843, JS “drank a glass of wine with Sister Richards. of her Mothe[r]’s make, in England.” A year after that, JS “drank a glass of beer at Moissers [Frederick Moeser’s].”32

Only a few weeks prior to his death, JS seemed to reference the Word of Wisdom while counseling those who would be leaving to serve electioneering missions for his U.S. presidential campaign. At least in regard to alcohol, JS inveighed against drunkenness rather than just occasional consumption, which reflected his own actions in relation to alcohol. He informed the men that “we should never indulge our appetites to injure our influence, or wound the feelings of friends, or cause the spirit of the Lord to leave us. There is no excuse for any man to drink and get drunk in the church of Christ, or gratify any appetite, or lust, contrary to the principles of righteousness.” JS further instructed the men “on the principles of sobriety, and every thing pertaining to godliness at considerable length & concluded by remarking that it is best to run on a long race and be careful to keep good wind &c.”33

Though the revelation instructed that meat was “to be used sparingly,” church members appear to have placed very little emphasis on that counsel, perhaps because this portion was rarely referenced by church leaders. Journals, reminiscences, and other personal records of the time that discuss specific provisions of the Word of Wisdom generally focus on the use of hot drinks, strong drinks, and tobacco rather than on the misuse or overuse of meat.34 The same is true of more official records and statements. In a noteworthy exception, Hyrum Smith, in an 1842 discourse on the Word of Wisdom, urged the Saints in Nauvoo to “attend to” the revelation’s instructions regarding the use of meat and to be “sparing of the life of animals.”35

Portions of this revelation reflect material in earlier JS revelations. Sometime around August 1830, a revelation on the emblems used in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper prohibited the members of the Church of Christ from purchasing wine and “strong drink” from their enemies and enjoined them not to partake of any such drink “except it is made new among you.”36 Another revelation, as well as the Book of Mormon, endorsed the use of herbs and other plants for treating the sick, and a 7 August 1831 revelation noted that animals, plants, and “all things which cometh of the earth in the season thereof is made for the benefit & the use of man … to be used with judgement not to excess neither by extortion.”37 Still another revelation similarly observed that “the beasts of the field & the fowls of the air & that which cometh of the Earth is ordained for the use of man for food & for raiment & that he might have in abundance” and at the same time condemned anyone “that shedeth blood or that wasteth flesh & hath no need.”38 This warning against wasting resources and food, especially meat, echoed JS’s revision of Genesis 9:5 in which God tells Noah that “blood shall not be shed only for meat to save your lives and the blood of every beast will I require at your hands.”39

The revelation makes no mention of an official penalty for disobeying its counsel, an issue that first presented itself to Kirtland leaders on 12 February 1834, when a “Bro Rich”—probably Leonard Rich—was “called in question for transgressing the word of wisdom.” A conference of church leaders and other men ordained to the priesthood forgave Rich “upon his promiseing to do better and reform his life.”40 The issue arose again eight days later—this time before the newly organized Kirtland high council—following a meeting that had been held in Pennsylvania in which “some of the members of that Church refused to partak[e] of the sacrament because the Elder administering it did not observe the words of wisdom to obey them.” Rather than addressing the Pennsylvanians’ refusal, the Kirtland high council deliberated on the more fundamental issue of “whether disobedience to the word of wisdom was a transgression sufficient to deprive an official member from holding an office in the church, after haveing it sufficiently taught him.” The official decision, presented by JS and sanctioned by the council, was that “no official member in this church is worthy to hold an office after haveing the word of wisdom properly taught to him, and he, the official member, neglecting to comply with, or obey them.”41

The council’s decision was eventually published in the Messenger and Advocate42 and appears to have been the basis for several policies and judgments made in Kirtland and Missouri.43 Records indicate that more severe actions, including excommunication, could be taken during this time when the violation of the principles taught in the revelation seemed particularly egregious or was part of a larger pattern of disobedience.44 Similarly, resolutions calling for the excommunication of church members who used “ardent spirits as a beverage” or who were “in the habit of drinking ardent spirits” were passed in various places in the early 1840s.45 At the same time, however, records from the Nauvoo period also indicate willingness on the part of church leaders and others to deal gently with those who were not obeying the revelation in the strictest sense and to give them time and reasons for reformation. Fearful that many church members were “following their old traditions,” for example, Hyrum Smith promised health, vigor, strength, and wisdom to those who kept the Word of Wisdom.46 An editorial in the Times and Seasons counseled those who frequented “public places, where poison is dealt to the unwary” to be more actively engaged in the ministry to which they had been called, while those who used “tobacco and other intoxicating nauseates” were reminded that such substances “destroy the influence of the Holy Spirit.”47 Though disobedience to the Word of Wisdom was occasionally grounds for losing one’s office during the Kirtland years, twenty-two men who apparently struggled to keep all of its provisions were ordained elders on 10 April 1843.48 Missionaries, similarly, were promised blessings if they kept the Word of Wisdom rather than being threatened with losing their licenses if they did not.49

The copy of the revelation featured here is the private copy made by Sidney Gilbert. Several pieces of textual evidence, including the lack of clarifying and elaborating phrases that occur in other early copies, suggest that it may best represent the earliest version of the revelation. In the following transcript, significant textual differences are noted between this copy and the copy made by Frederick G. Williams in Revelation Book 2 in Kirtland, which was probably the earliest copy made in an official church record. All other early versions of this revelation closely follow the wording of Revelation Book 2.

A word of wisdom

A Word of Wisdom. This 27 February 1833 revelation spoke against the use of alcohol, tobacco, and “hot drinks,” which were shortly thereafter specified as tea and coffee. The revelation also counseled members that meat was to be “used sparingly” and encouraged them to eat wholesome herbs and grains. The revelation promised that “all saints who remember to keep & do these sayings walking in obedience to the commands shall receieve health in their navel & marrow to their bones & shall find wisdom & great treasures of wisdom & knowledge even hidden treasures & shall run & not be weary & walk & not faint. And I the Lord give unto them a promise that the destroying Angel shall pass them by as they did by the Children of Israel & not slay them.” Though the prohibitions contained in this revelation were initially received “not by commandment or Constraint,” obeying them eventually became a requirement for baptism into the church. Handwriting of Sidney Gilbert. Revelation, 27 Feb. 1833 [D&C 89], Sidney Gilbert, Notebook, pp. [113]–[115], Revelations Collection, Church History Library, Salt Lake City.

A Word of Wisdom50

[1]A word of wisdom for the benefit of the Saints in these last days51 and also the Saints in Zion [2]to be sent greeting, not by commandment or Constraint, but by Revelation & the word of wisdom52 shewing forth the order & will of God in the temporal salvation of all Saints,53 [3]given for a principle with promise, adapted to the Capacity of the weak & the weakest of all Saints who are or can be called Saints—

[4]Behold verily thus Saith the Lord unto you in consequence of evils & designs which will exist54 in the hearts of conspiring men in these55 last days, I have warned you & forewarned56 you by giving unto you this word of wisdom by Revelation, [5]that inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or Strong drink57 among you behold it is not good, neither mete in the sight of your Father, only in assembling your[s]elves in your Sacraments58 before him, [6]& behold this should be wine of your own make59 [7]& again Strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies,60 [8]& Tobacco is not for man61 but is for bruises62 & all sick cattle to be used with judgement & skill.63

[9]And again hot drinks are not for the body or belly,64 [10]all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution & nature65 & use of man,66 [11]every herb in the season thereof & every fruit in the season thereof, all these to be [p. [113]] used with prudence & thanksgiving, [12]yea flesh also of beasts & of fowls,67 I the Lord hath ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving— Nevertheless they are to be used sparingly [13]& it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used only68 in times of winter69 or of famine—70 [14]All grain is for71 the use of man & of beasts to be the staff of life not only for man, but for the beasts & for the fowls,72 and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth [15]& these hath God [made]73 for the use of man only in times of famine or74 excess of hunger [16]all grain is good for the use75 of man & of beasts as also the fruit of the vine that which beareth76 fruit whether in the ground or above ground.77 [17]Nevertheless wheat for man & corn for the Ox & Oats for the horse. Rye for the fowls & the swine & for all beasts of the field and Barley for all useful animals & for mild drinks78 as also other grains— [18]and all saints who remember to keep & do these sayings walking in obedience to the commands79 shall receieve health in their navel & marrow to their bones80 [p. [114]] [19]& shall find wisdom & great treasures of wisdom & knowledge81 even hidden treasures82 [20]& shall run & not be weary & walk83 & not faint.84 [21]And I the Lord give unto them a promise that the destroying Angel shall pass them by as they did by the Children of Israel85 & not slay them86


  1. Young did not attend the School of the Prophets when this revelation was recorded but stated he received his information from those there. According to Young, tobacco juice was often “spit all over the floor” of the room in which the school met, and “the smoke was so dense you could hardly see across the room.” (Brigham Young, Discourse, 8 Feb. 1868, in George D. Watt, Discourse Shorthand Notes, 8 Feb. 1868, Pitman Shorthand Transcriptions, CHL; see also Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, 8 Feb. 1868, 12:158.)

  2. In one account, Coltrin reported that twenty-one men were in attendance; in another, twenty-two. (School of the Prophets Salt Lake City Minutes, 3 Oct. 1883; School of the Prophets Saint George Records, 23 Dec. 1883.)

  3. Johnson, Notebook, [1].

  4. By 1830, the annual consumption of distilled liquor alone in the United States was over five gallons per capita. (Rorabaugh, Alcoholic Republic, 8.)

  5. Peterson, “Word of Wisdom,” 7–8; see also “Temperance,” Painesville (OH) Telegraph, 22 Nov. 1832, [2]. Among the Christian reformers adopting a strong stance against the immoderate use of alcohol was Alexander Campbell, several of whose associates joined the Saints. (“Four Great Sources of Health,” Millennial Harbinger, 7 June 1830, 279–280.)

  6. Crary, Pioneer and Personal Reminiscences, 25.

  7. Crary, Pioneer and Personal Reminiscences, 25, 68. Based on an account book in his possession from the Kirtland distillery, Christopher Crary reported that the Kirtland distillery virtually closed on 1 February 1833—approximately four weeks before JS dictated this 27 February 1833 revelation—with a small volume of business being transacted “two or three months later.” At some point, according to Crary, the Kirtland Temperance Society purchased the distillery “under agreement that it should never again be used as a distillery.” (Crary, Pioneer and Personal Reminiscences, 24–25.)

  8. Crary, Pioneer and Personal Reminiscences, 25.

  9. See, for example, “Four Great Sources of Health,” Millennial Harbinger, 7 June 1830, 279–280; “Dietetic Maxims,” Millennial Harbinger, 5 Dec. 1831, 560–561; “Tobacco,” Millennial Harbinger, 7 June 1830, 281–283; “M’Allister’s Dissertation on Tobacco,” Journal of Health (Philadelphia), 14 July 1830, 329–331; Editorial, Journal of Health, 9 Dec. 1829, 97–100; and Paris, Treatise on Diet, 81–104; see also Bush, “Word of Wisdom,” 165–172.

  10. Letter to Noah C. Saxton, 4 Jan. 1833, in JSP, D2:348–355; Letter to Noah C. Saxton, 12 Feb. 1833, in JSP, D3:6. For examples of articles on temperance, see the recurring “Temperance Department” reports in the American Revivalist, and Rochester (NY) Observer for 1833.

  11. Gilbert, Notebook, [113]–[115]; see Wilford Woodruff’s personal copy of the Book of Commandments at CHL. Lewis Abbott, who was living in Jackson County, Missouri, in 1833, also made a copy of the revelation, although it is unclear when he did so. (Revelation, 27 Feb. 1833, in Abbott Family Collection, CHL [D&C 89].)

  12. Verily, Thus Saith the Lord unto You, Who Have Assembled Yourselves Together, [Kirtland, OH: ca. Jan. 1834], copy at BYU [D&C 88–89]; Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:43–44.

  13. Minutes, 12 Feb. 1834, in JSP, D3:431; Minutes, 20 Feb. 1834, in JSP, D3:451; “The Minutes of the Conference in Maine,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Aug. 1834, 181; John F. Boynton, Bolton, NY, 31 Aug. 1834, Letter to the Editor, The Evening and the Morning Star, Sept. 1834, 191–192.

  14. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, 227–229.

  15. Johnson, Notebook, [1]. Hyrum Smith made the same point nine years later in Nauvoo; in 1870, Brigham Young also identified the “hot drinks” mentioned in the revelation as tea and coffee. (“The Word of Wisdom,” Times and Seasons, 1 June 1842, 3:800; Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, 30 Oct. 1870, 13:277.)

  16. The earliest manuscript versions are the copy made by Oliver Cowdery in Revelation Book 1, pp. 167–168, in JSP, MRB:311–313; the copy made by Frederick G. Williams in Revelation Book 2, pp. 49–51, in JSP, MRB:511–515; the copy made by Sidney Gilbert in his Notebook of Revelations, [113]–[115] (featured here); Wilford Woodruff’s handwritten copy inscribed in his personal copy of the Book of Commandments, CHL; and the undated copy by Lewis Abbott in Abbott Family Collection, CHL. The possible exception is Gilbert’s copy, which has a long dash at the end of the opening statement (that is, after “can be called Saints”), separating it from the rest of the revelation.

  17. In October 1883, Coltrin reported that those present in the School of the Prophets when JS first read the revelation “immediately threw their tobacco and pipes into the fire” and that while “those who gave up using tobacco eased off on licorice root, … there was no easing off on Tea and Coffee; these they had to give up straight.” Discussing the same topic a few months later in 1883, Coltrin reported that members of the school “all laid aside their pipes and use of tobacco” and that he had “never used it since.” Johnson, who was present when the revelation was first presented and who “had used Tobbacco smoke and chew 15 years and always used strong drink Tea and Coffe[e] … laid them all aside” after hearing the revelation. Tanner similarly “discarded the use of tea coffee and spirituous liquors” after hearing about the revelation in New York in late 1833 or early 1834. (School of the Prophets Salt Lake City Minutes, 3 and 11 Oct. 1883; School of the Prophets Saint George Records, 23 Dec. 1883; Johnson, Notebook, [1]; Tanner, Autobiography, [1].)

  18. George A. Smith, Autobiography, 10.

  19. William W. Phelps, Kirtland, OH, to Sally Waterman Phelps, 26 May 1835, William W. Phelps, Papers, BYU.

  20. At least one physician of the time, Andrew Combe, who was not a Latter-day Saint but who generally opposed drinking alcohol, acknowledged alcohol’s medicinal value. (Combe, Physiology of Digestion, 280, 285–286.)

  21. George A. Smith, Autobiography, 31.

  22. Woodruff, Journal, 4 Dec. 1836. The two exceptions Rigdon allowed were “wine at the Sacraments” and “external Washing.”

  23. Oliver Cowdery, for example, justified his drinking tea three times a day during the winter of 1837–1838 on grounds that he was sick. Leaving Nauvoo, Illinois, in ill health in the fall of 1839, Brigham Young and others availed themselves of tea and “tonic bitters,” which church members had prepared for them because of their sickness. While it is unclear how closely JS intended Nauvoo city ordinances to correspond to his understanding of church standards, it may be significant that as a city councilman he voted for an ordinance prohibiting the sale of liquor “in a less quantity than a quart … excepting on the recommendation of a Physician duly accredited, in Writing.” (Minute Book 2, 26 Jan. 1838; Historian’s Office, Brigham Young History Drafts, 27; Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, 15 Feb. 1841, 8.)

  24. Kirtland Camp, Journal, 13 Mar. 1838.

  25. Kirtland Camp, Journal, 17 Mar. 1838. On at least two occasions, leaders of the Kirtland Camp reprimanded camp members for disobeying the Word of Wisdom. Two members of the camp, George W. Brooks and his wife, Eliza Ann Clayton Brooks, were expelled from the camp at least in part because of Eliza’s unwillingness to obey the Word of Wisdom. (Kirtland Camp, Journal, 16 Aug. 1838.)

  26. Helen Mar Kimball Whitney, “Scenes in Nauvoo,” Woman’s Exponent, 15 July 1881, 10:26. According to Whitney, this event was “the commencement of their [the Saints’] using tea and coffee; previous to this the Saints had been strict in keeping the Word of Wisdom.”

  27. Taylor, “Martyrdom of Joseph Smith,” 47–48; Richards, Journal, 27 June 1844.

  28. See, for example, Murdock, Autobiography, 34; see also Woodruff, Journal, 4 Dec. 1836.

  29. “Sacrament,” in Oxford English Dictionary, 9:13.

  30. See, for example, School of the Prophets Salt Lake City Minutes, 3 Oct. 1883; and JS, Journal, 14 and 20 Jan. 1836; 30 Mar. 1836, in JSP, J1:153, 165–166, 213–214.

  31. During the Nauvoo period, other church leaders appear to have shared JS’s views on drinking these beverages. In a meeting of the Quorum of the Twelve and high priests on 7 November 1841, Brigham Young stated that he would not be violating the Word of Wisdom if he went home and drank a cup of tea. All present, according to Wilford Woodruff, “concluded that it was wisdom to deal with all such matters according to the wisdom which God gave” and that a “forced abstainance” was akin to bondage. (Woodruff, Journal, 7 Nov. 1841.)

  32. JS, Journal, 11 Mar. 1843, in JSP, J2:305; JS, Journal, 3 May 1843 and 1 June 1844.

  33. Council of Fifty, “Record,” 3 May 1844.

  34. At the time, the typical adult in the United States consumed over a pound of meat per day. (Rorabaugh, Alcoholic Republic, 113.)

  35. “The Word of Wisdom,” Times and Seasons, 1 June 1842, 3:801. The fact that only Hyrum spoke on this aspect of the Word of Wisdom may make his statement an even greater outlier as he seems to have been uniquely zealous in preaching on the Word of Wisdom. Reflecting two decades later on Hyrum Smith’s preaching about the Word of Wisdom in 1842, the same time this article reporting Hyrum’s discourse had been published, Brigham Young intimated as much: “I have known him to talk an hour half to two hours on the Word of Wisdom I didn’t see any particular utility in it.” (Brigham Young, Discourse, 8 Oct. 1866, in George D. Watt, Discourse Shorthand Notes, 8 Oct. 1866, Pitman Shorthand Transcriptions, CHL.)

  36. Revelation, ca. Aug. 1830 [D&C 27:3–4], herein.

  37. Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:43], herein; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 353 [Alma 46:40]; Revelation, 7 Aug. 1831 [D&C 59:18, 20], herein.

  38. Revelation, 7 May 1831 [D&C 49:19, 21], herein.

  39. Old Testament Revision 1, p. 24 [Genesis 9:5]. JS revised Genesis 9:5 probably between 1 February and 7 March 1831. (Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 64.)

  40. Minutes, 12 Feb. 1834, in JSP, D3:431.

  41. Minutes, 20 Feb. 1834, in JSP, D3:451–452. A meeting of the Missouri high council and others passed a similar resolution some time later, stating that they would “not fellowship any ordained member who will or does not observe the word of Wisdom according to its litteral reading.” (Minute Book 2, p. 71, underlining in original.)

  42. “To the Churches of Latter Day Saints,” Messenger and Advocate, Nov. 1836, 3:412.

  43. See, for example, Record of Seventies, bk. A, 30 July 1837, 31–32; Kirtland Elders Quorum, “Record,” 29 Oct. 1837; and Minute Book 2, 26 Jan. 1838.

  44. On 4 March 1834, for example, Charles Avery was disfellowshipped because “he wa[l]ked disorderly & made too free a use of strong drink.” Other examples include Jenkins Salisbury, who was excommunicated for “strong propensity to … drinking strong liquor” among other, possibly more serious, charges; Chester L. Heath and Milo Hays, who were excommunicated for breaking covenants and disobeying the Word of Wisdom; and Lyman Johnson, whose excommunication was based in part on disobedience to the Word of Wisdom. (Murdock, Journal, 4 Mar. 1834; Minute Book 1, 6–7 June 1835 and 16 May 1836; Minutes, Messenger and Advocate, Apr. 1835, 1:101–102; Minute Book 2, 13 Apr. 1838.)

  45. Minutes, Times and Seasons, 1 July 1841, 2:464; “Conference Minutes,” Times and Seasons, 15 Sept. 1841, 2:548.

  46. “The Word of Wisdom,” Times and Seasons, 1 June 1842, 3:799.

  47. “Help! Help!!,” Times and Seasons, Feb. 1840, 1:58.

  48. According to the rough draft notes of JS’s history, the men were ordained “with this express injunction, that they quit the use of tobacco and keep the Word of Wisdom.” (Historian’s Office, JS History, Draft Notes, 10 Apr. 1843.)

  49. “Elder’s Conference,” Times and Seasons, 1 Apr. 1843, 4:159; “Conference Minutes and Re-organization,” Times and Seasons, 1 Sept. 1843, 4:316.

  50. TEXT: “Word of Wisdom” is double underlined. This phrase or title does not appear in the copy of this revelation made in Revelation Book 2, which begins with the phrase “A Revelation for the benefit of the saints &c.” (Revelation Book 2, p. 49, in JSP, MRB:511 [D&C 89:1].)

  51. Instead of “of the Saints in these last days,” the copy of this revelation in Revelation Book 2 reads, “of the council of high Priests assembled in Kirtland and Church.” (Revelation Book 2, p. 49, in JSP, MRB:511 [D&C 89:1].)

  52. Before its association with this revelation, the phrase “word of wisdom” was understood as one of the “spiritual gifts.” (1 Corinthians 12:8; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 586 [Moroni 10:9]; Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–A [D&C 46:17], herein.)

  53. The Revelation Book 2 copy includes “in the last days” here. (Revelation Book 2, p. 50, in JSP, MRB:513 [D&C 89:2].)

  54. Instead of “which will exist,” the Revelation Book 2 copy reads, “which do and will exist.” (Revelation Book 2, p. 50, in JSP, MRB:513 [D&C 89:4].)

  55. Instead of “these,” the Revelation Book 2 copy has “the.” (Revelation Book 2, p. 50, in JSP, MRB:513 [D&C 89:4].)

  56. Instead of “forewarned,” the Revelation Book 2 copy has “forewarn.” (Revelation Book 2, p. 50, in JSP, MRB:513 [D&C 89:4].)

  57. “Strong drink” probably refers to distilled drinks like whiskey and rum, which had an average alcohol content of forty-five percent. Wine and other fermented drinks like hard cider and beer had significantly lower alcohol content, ranging from about five percent for beer to around eighteen percent for wine. (Rorabaugh, Alcoholic Republic, 7, 9.)

  58. Instead of “in your Sacraments,” the Revelation Book 2 copy reads, “together to offer up your sacrament.” (Revelation Book 2, p. 50 [D&C 89:5].)

  59. Instead of “wine of your own make,” the Revelation Book 2 copy reads, “wine yea pure wine of the grape of the vine of your own make.” (Revelation Book 2, p. 50, in JSP, MRB:513 [D&C 89:6].)

  60. Distilled drinks like whiskey were used topically to treat wounds and other injuries at the time. The extent to which they were used as a body wash is less clear, though JS and others washed themselves with whiskey on at least one occasion in January 1836 in order to “be clean before the Lord for the Sabbath.” Oliver Cowdery recorded that they confessed their sins and covenanted to be faithful as they washed and that their “minds were filled with many reflections upon the propriety of the same, and how the priests anciently used to wash always before ministering before the Lord.” (Whitney, Family Physician, 419, 421–422; Cowdery, Diary, 16 Jan. 1836.)

  61. Instead of “& Tobacco is not for man,” the Revelation Book 2 copy reads, “and again Tobacco is not for the body neither for the belly and is not good for man.” (Revelation Book 2, p. 50, in JSP, MRB:513 [D&C 89:8].)

  62. Instead of “but is for bruises,” the Revelation Book 2 copy reads, “but is an herb for bruises.” (Revelation Book 2, p. 50, in JSP, MRB:513 [D&C 89:8].)

  63. In addition to being smoked, chewed, and used in snuff, tobacco had been used for centuries as a cure and preventative for scores of diseases, injuries, and conditions. Its use to treat bruises, for instance, dates back to at least 1633. By 1833, however, a growing number of physicians, educators, and clergy were questioning its medicinal use and effectiveness, and by 1860, most physicians had eliminated it from their pharmacopeia. Tobacco was also used extensively to treat a variety of maladies in cattle, sheep, swine, and horses. Users were cautioned to use it carefully, however, as its effects could be lethal, even in topical application. (Stewart, “History of the Medicinal Use of Tobacco,” 240, 244–247; Richardson, New-England Farrier and Family Physician, 37, 53, 254, 281, 307, 321; Clater, Every Man His Own Cattle Doctor, 193, 277, 342.)

  64. The Revelation Book 2 copy includes “and again verily I say unto you” here. Several other early nineteenth-century authors argued that any liquid taken at a high temperature could cause injury. (Revelation Book 2, p. 50, in JSP, MRB:513 [D&C 89:10]; Bush, “Word of Wisdom,” 170–171.)

  65. Instead of “constitution & nature,” the Revelation Book 2 copy reads, “constitution nature.” (Revelation Book 2, p. 50, in JSP, MRB:513 [D&C 89:10].)

  66. At the time, herb could refer to “all the grasses, and numerous plants used for culinary purposes.” (“Herb,” in American Dictionary [1828].)

  67. Instead of “of beasts & of fowls,” the Revelation Book 2 copy reads, “of beasts and of the fowls of the are [air].” (Revelation Book 2, p. 50, in JSP, MRB:513 [D&C 89:12].)

  68. One of the many ways only can be used is as a preposition meaning “except for.” In his 1842 discourse to church members in Nauvoo, Illinois, Hyrum Smith paraphrased this part of the revelation saying, “It is pleasing saith the Lord that flesh be used only in times of winter, or of famine.” (“Only,” in Oxford English Dictionary, 7:128; “The Word of Wisdom,” Times and Seasons, 1 June 1842, 3:801.)

  69. Many other contemporary authors similarly argued that meat was better for humans in the winter than in the summer. Thomas Tryon, for example, advised that meat be eaten sparingly, and especially avoided in the summer. ([Tryon], Way to Health and Long Life, 8–9; see also Bush, “Word of Wisdom,” 168–169.)

  70. Instead of “in times of winter or of famine,” the Revelation Book 2 copy reads, “in times of winter or of cold or famine.” (Revelation Book 2, p. 51, in JSP, MRB:515 [D&C 89:13].)

  71. Instead of “is for,” the Revelation Book 2 copy reads, “is ordained for.” (Revelation Book 2, p. 51, in JSP, MRB:515 [D&C 89:14].)

  72. Instead of “for the beasts & for the fowls,” the Revelation Book 2 copy reads, “for the beasts of the feald and the fowls of heaven.” (Revelation Book 2, p. 51, in JSP, MRB:515 [D&C 89:14].)

  73. The Revelation Book 2 copy has “made” here. (Revelation Book 2, p. 51, in JSP, MRB:515 [D&C 89:15].)

  74. Instead of “or,” the Revelation Book 2 copy has “and.” (Revelation Book 2, p. 51, in JSP, MRB:515 [D&C 89:15].)

  75. Instead of “use,” the Revelation Book 2 copy has “food.” (Revelation Book 2, p. 51, in JSP, MRB:515 [D&C 89:16].)

  76. Instead of “beareth,” the Revelation Book 2 copy reads “yealdeth.” (Revelation Book 2, p. 51, in JSP, MRB:515 [D&C 89:16].)

  77. Instead of “above ground,” the Revelation Book 2 copy reads, “above the ground.” At the time, fruit could mean “not only corn [grain] of all kinds, but grass, cotton, flax, grapes and all cultivated plants.” (Revelation Book 2, p. 51, in JSP, MRB:515 [D&C 89:16]; “Fruit,” in American Dictionary [1828].)

  78. “Mild drinks” could include barley water (a nonalcoholic drink made by the decoction of pearl barley and used as a remedy for a variety of conditions) or drinks made from malted barley. (“Barley-water,” in American Dictionary [1828]; Buchan, Domestic Medicine, 165; Richardson, New-England Farrier and Family Physician, 129.)

  79. Instead of “commands,” the Revelation Book 2 copy has “commandments.” (Revelation Book 2, p. 51, in JSP, MRB:515 [D&C 89:18].)

  80. See Proverbs 3:8.

  81. Instead of “great treasures of wisdom & knowledge,” the Revelation Book 2 copy reads, “wisdom and great treasure of knowledge.” (Revelation Book 2, p. 51, in JSP, MRB:515 [D&C 89:19].)

  82. See Colossians 2:3.

  83. Instead of “& walk,” the Revelation Book 2 copy reads, “and shall walk.” (Revelation Book 2, p. 51, in JSP, MRB:515 [D&C 89:20].)

  84. See Isaiah 40:31.

  85. Instead of “shall pass them by as they did by the Children of Israel,” the Revelation Book 2 copy reads, “shall pass by them as the Children of Israel.” (Revelation Book 2, p. 51, in JSP, MRB:515 [D&C 89:21].)

  86. See Exodus 12:21–29. The Revelation Book 2 copy concludes the revelation with “Amen.” (Revelation Book 2, p. 51, in JSP, MRB:515 [D&C 89:21].)