Guide Setting the Record Straight: Joseph Smith: The Mormon Prophet

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Many became concerned about the social and health-related consequences of increased alcohol consumption. Beginning in the s, reformers called for abstinence from hard liquor; many of their hearers went further, taking a pledge against all alcoholic beverages, including beer. At the same time, some reformers spoke out against tobacco chewing and recommended coffee as a substitute for alcohol, given that clean water was not always available. Within the context of this debate, Emma Smith approached her husband, concerned about the environment in the School of the Prophets.

Setting the Record Straight: Joseph Smith – the Mormon Prophet | Jesus in Idaho Falls

The same space Joseph used to record revelations and work on his inspired Bible translation was also used as the schoolroom, in which attendees often smoked, chewed, and spat tobacco. Joseph inquired of the Lord and received the Word of Wisdom. For the next two generations, Church leaders taught the Word of Wisdom as a command from God, but they tolerated a variety of viewpoints on how strictly this commandment should be observed.

Many Saints continued to drink coffee and tea, and some chewed tobacco. In territorial Utah, Church leaders denounced public intoxication and whiskey drinking but were often silent on the moderate use of milder alcoholic drinks.

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This tolerance gave the Saints time to develop their own tradition of abstinence from habit-forming substances. Even so, Church leaders looked forward to the time when a higher standard would be observed.

Recently Uncovered Teachings of Joseph Smith and Others - Gerrit Dirkmaat

In the s and s, Brigham Young called on the Saints to reject all use of tea, coffee, tobacco, and liquor. The result of this teaching was a younger generation of Latter-day Saints who had grown up with Word of Wisdom observance and were able to adhere to the standard of full abstinence. With the decline of polygamy after , the increasing emphasis on the Word of Wisdom became a new marker of Latter-day Saint distinctiveness. In the early s, the Saints replaced wine with water for sacramental use.

However, the private writings of Nauvoo participants and other polygamy insiders tell another, more complex and nuanced story. Many of these accounts have never been published.

Overview of Key Dates

Others have been printed sporadically in unrelated publications. His answers may not satisfy everyone, but he gives readers the relevant sources where answers, if they exist, are to be found. There has never been a more thorough examination of the polygamy idea. Brian C.


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