Mormon Quotes

Word of Wisdom

Brigham Young
You go through the wards in the city, and then through the wards in the country, and ask the Bishops — 'Do you keep the Word of Wisdom?' The reply will be 'Yes; No, not exactly.' 'Do you drink tea?' 'No.' 'Coffee?' 'No.' 'Do you drink whiskey?' 'No.' 'Well, then, why do you not observe the Word of Wisdom?' 'Well, this tobacco, I cannot give it up.' And in this he sets an example to every man, and to every boy over ten years of age, in his ward, to nibble at and chew tobacco. You go to another ward, and perhaps the Bishop does not chew tobacco, nor drink tea or coffee, but once in a while he takes a little spirits, and keeps whiskey in his house, in which he will occasionally indulge — Go to another ward, and perhaps the Bishop does not drink whiskey nor chew tobacco, but he 'cannot give up his tea and coffee.' And so it goes on through the whole church. Not every Bishop indulges in one or more of these habits, but most of them do. I recollect being at a trial not long since where quite a number of Bishops had been called in as witnesses, but I could not learn that there was one who did not drink whiskey, and I think that most of them drank tea and coffee. I think that we have some bishops in this city who do not chew tobacco, nor drink liquor nor tea nor coffee to excess.... If a person is weary, worn out, cast down, fainting, or dying, a brandy sling, a little wine, or a cup of tea is good to revive them. Do not throw these things away, and say they must never be used; they are good to be used with judgment, prudence, and discretion. Ask our bishops if they drink tea every day, and in most cases, they will tell you they do if they can get it.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 12:402
Brigham Young
When they [the 'School of Elders'] assembled together in this room after breakfast, the first thing they did was to light their pipes, and while smoking, talk about the great things of the kingdom, and spit all over the room, and as soon as the pipe was out of their mouths a large chew of tobacco would then be taken. Often when the Prophet entered the room to give the school instructions he would find himself in a cloud of tobacco smoke.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 12:158
Brigham Young
When there was no whiskey to be had here, and we needed it for rational purposes, I built a house to make it in. When the distillery was almost completed and in good working order, an army was heard of in our vicinity and I shut up the works. I did not make a gallon of whiskey at my works, because it came here in great quantities, more than was needed. I could have made thousands of dollars from my still, which has ever since been as dead property. Have others followed my example in this? They have not, but there was a whiskey shop established here and another there. Some have even told me that they would starve if they did not make whiskey. I said to them, make it then, and be damned, for they will be damned anyhow. Am not I able to make whiskey? Yes; there stands the still and the still‑house this day, which I have never used and from which I might make thousands of dollars. Have I made whiskey and sold it in what some call Whiskey Street? No. Had I done so how many would have hailed me with, 'You are a good man, brother Brigham, and you are the right man to lead Israel; thank God for such a man: he keeps a whiskey shop, drinks liquor, trades with our enemies and hugs them to his heart as long as there is any money in their pockets, and takes them to his house and introduces them to his wives and daughters; what a blessed man brother Brigham is.'
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 10:206
Brigham Young
There is another subject I wish to refer to. Last Sabbath this front gallery... was very full. After meeting was dismissed I took a walk through it, and to see the floor that had been occupied by those professing to be gentlemen, and I do not know but brethren, you might have supposed that cattle had been there rolling and standing around, for here and there were great quids of tobacco, and places one or two feet square smeared with tobacco juice. I want to say to the doorkeepers that when you see gentlemen who cannot omit chewing and spitting while in this house, request them to leave; and if such persons refuse to leave, and continue their spitting, just take them and lead them out carefully and kindly. We do not want to have the house thus defiled. It is an imposition for gentlemen to spit tobacco juice around, or to leave their quids of tobacco on the floor; they dirty the house, and if a lady happen to besmear the bottom of her dress, which can hardly be avoided, it is highly offensive. We therefore request all gentlemen attending conference to omit tobacco chewing while here.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 13:344
Brigham Young
Many of the brethren chew tobacco, and I have advised them to be modest about it. Do not take out a whole plug of tobacco in meeting before the eyes of the congregation, and cut off a long slice and put it in your mouth, to the annoyance of everybody around. Do not glory in this disgraceful practice. If you must use tobacco, put a small portion in your mouth when no person sees you, and be careful that no one sees you chew it. I do not charge you with sin. You have the 'Word of Wisdom.' Read it.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:361
Brigham Young
It is not my privilege to drink liquor, neither is it my privilege to eat tobacco. Well, Bro. Brigham, have you not done it? Yes, for many years, but I ceased its habitual practice. I used it for toothache; now I am free from that pain, and my mouth is never stained with tobacco.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 12:404
Brigham Young
You know that we all profess to believe the 'Word of Wisdom.' There has been a great deal said about it, more in former than in latter years. We as Latter‑day Saints, care but little about tobacco; but as 'Mormons' we use a great deal.... The traders and passing emigration have sold tons of tobacco, besides what is said here regularly. I say that $60,000 annually is the smallest figure I can estimate the sales at. Tobacco can be raised here as well as it can be raised in any other place. It wants attention and care. If we use it, let us raise it here. I recommend for some man to go to raising tobacco. One man, who came here last fall, is going to do so; and if he is diligent, he will raise quite a quantity. I want to see some man go to and make a business of raising tobacco and stop sending money out of the territory for that article. Some of the brethren are very strenuous upon the 'Word of Wisdom,' and would like to have me preach upon it, and urge it upon the brethren, and make it a test of fellowship. I do not think I shall do so. I have never done so. We annually expend only $60,000 to break the 'Word of Wisdom,' and we can save the money and still break it, if we will break it.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 9:35
Joseph Smith
Ordinance on the Personal Sale of Liquors. Section 1. Be it ordained by the City Council of Nauvoo, that the Mayor of the city be and is hereby authorized to see or give spirits of any quantity as he in his wisdom shall judge to be for the health and comfort, or convenience of such travelers or other persons as shall visit his house from time to time.
Joseph Smith, Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, v. 6, p. 111, Tuesday, December 12, 1843
Joseph Smith
Elders Orson Hyde, Luke S. Johnson, and Warren Parrish, then presented the Presidency with three servers of glasses filled with wine, to bless. And it fell to my lot to attend to this duty, which I cheerfully discharged. It was then passed round in order, then the cake in the same order; and suffice it to say, our hearts were made glad while partaking of the bounty of earth which was presented, until we had taken our fill...
Joseph Smith, Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, v. 2, p. 378, Wednesday, January 20, 1836
Joseph Smith
Drank a glass of beer at Moessers.
Joseph Smith, Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, June 1, 1844
Joseph Smith
Called at the office and drank a glass of wine with Sister Jenetta Richards, made by her mother in England, and reviewed a portion of the conference minutes.
Joseph Smith, Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, v. 5, p. 380, Wednesday, May 3, 1843
Joseph Smith
April 17.‑ This day the Twelve blessed and drank a bottle of wine at Penworthan, made by Mother Moon forty years before.
Joseph Smith, Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, v. 4, p. 120, Friday, April 17, 1840
Joseph Smith
We then partook of some refreshments, and our hearts were made glad with the fruit of the vine. This is according to the pattern set by our Savior Himself, and we feel disposed to patronize all the institutions of heaven.
Joseph Smith, Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, v. 2, p. 369, Thursday, January 14, 1836
John Taylor
Sometime after dinner we sent for some wine. It has been reported by some that this was taken as a sacrament. It was no such thing; our spirits were generally dull and heavy, and it was sent for to revive us.... I believe we all drank of the wine, and gave some to one or two of the prison guards.
John Taylor, History of the Church, v. 7, p. 101
Joseph F. Smith
Some of our pretend pious people, a few years ago, were shocked and horrified by seeing the symbol of the All‑Seeing Eye and the words 'Holiness to the Lord' in gilt letters over the front of Zion's cooperative Mercantile Institution. Especially was this the case with some of our brethren when they found these letters over the drug department of Z.C.M.I. Why was it? Why some of these pious (?) Mormons found that Z.C.M.I. under the symbol of the All‑Seeing Eye and the sacred words, 'Holiness to the Lord,' said tea and coffee, and tobacco, and other tings possibly that Latter‑day Saints ought not to use; and at the drug store, Z.C.M.I. kept liquors of various kinds for medicinal purposes. It was terribly shocking to some of the Latter‑day Saints that under these holy words liquor should be kept for sale. Has it injured me, in any sense of the word, because Z.C.M.I. drug store kept liquor for sale? Has it made me a drunkard? Have I been under the necessity of guzzling liquid poison? Have I made myself a sot because liquor was kept for sale by Z.C.M.I.? I am not worse for it, thank the Lord. And who else is? No one, except those pious Mormons (?) who in open day or under the cover of night would go into the drug store and buy liquor to drink.... Those who were most horrified at seeing the All‑Seeing Eye and 'Holiness to the Lord' over the front door of Z.C.M.I., I will guarantee are the ones that have bought the most tea and coffee, tobacco and whiskey there.... It does not matter to me how much tea and coffee Z.C.M.I. sells, so long as I do not buy it. If I do not drink it am I not all right? And if the poor creature that wants it can get it there, that ought to satisfy him. If he could not get it there, he would not patronize Z.C.M.I. at all, but would go some where else to deal.
Joseph F. Smith, Conference Report, April 1898, p. 11
Gordon B. Hinckley
In 1933, there was a movement in the United States to overturn the law which prohibited commerce in alcoholic beverages. When it came to a vote, Utah was the deciding state. President Heber J. Grant, then President of this Church, had pleaded with our people against voting to nullify Prohibition. It broke his heart when so many members of the Church in this state disregarded his counsel. How grateful, my brethren, I feel, how profoundly grateful for the tremendous faith of so many Latter‑day Saints who, when facing a major decision on which the Church has taken a stand, align themselves with that position.
Gordon B. Hinckley, April 2003 General Conference, "Loyalty"
George A. Smith
We are doing a great business in the tea, coffee and tobacco in the Co‑operative Store. When we first established it we thought we would not sell tobacco at all; but pretty soon the Superintendent asked the Directors if he might not bring in some poor kind of tobacco to kill the ticks on the sheep. It was very soon discovered that unless they sold tobacco, so many Latter‑day Saints used it, that a successful opposition could be run against them on the tobacco trade alone, and they had to commence it, I believe, under the plea that it was brought on to kill the ticks on sheep. Shame on such Latter‑day Saints, so far as tobacco is concerned.
George A. Smith, Journal of Discourses 16:238
Alan Keele
The Fuhrer himself, the non‑smoking, non‑drinking vegetarian who yielded to no one in his desire for absolute law and order, seemed to embody many of the most basic LDS virtues.
Alan Keele, "The Fuhrer's New Clothes: Helmuth Huebner and the Mormons in the Third Reich," Sunstone, v. 5, no. 6, pp. 20‑29
Alan Keele
Hitler enjoyed at least as much popularity among German Saints as he did among the population in general. His apparent dynamism and self‑confidence seemed to show a way out of the chaos and weakness of the Weimar years. Moreover, as 'good Germans,' the Mormons were acutely aware that Hitler had risen to power through legal channels... Some Church members even saw Hitler as God's instrument, preparing the world for the millennium. Superficial parallels were drawn between the Church and the Nazi party with its emphasis on active involvement by every member... The vital importance of 'Aryan' ancestry gave new significance to genealogical research. And the Fuhrer himself, the non‑smoking, non‑drinking vegetarian who yielded to no one in his desire for absolute law and order, seemed to embody many of the most basic LDS virtues.
Alan Keele, "The Fuhrer's New Clothes: Helmuth Huebner and the Mormons in the Third Reich," Sunstone, v. 5, no. 6, pp. 20‑29
First Presidency
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.
First Presidency, Church Handbook of Instructions, section 21.3.11
John A. Widtsoe
Without going into further details, it is readily seen that the teachings of Joseph Smith, in 1833, in relation to the value of tea and coffee in human drinks, harmonizes with the knowledge of today. Moreover, he was in advance, in the certainty of his expressions, of the scientists of his day. It is true that caffeine had been found in coffee and tea a few years before the revelation of 1833, but the physiological action of the drug was not known until many years afterwards.
John A. Widtsoe, Joseph Smith As Scientist by John A. Widtsoe, 1908
David Whitmer
Some of the men were excessive chewers of the filthy weed, and their disgusting slobbering and spitting cause Mrs. [Emma] Smith... to make the ironical remark that 'It would be a good thing if a revelation could be had declaring the use of tobacco a sin, and commanding its suppression'.... The matter was taken up and joked about, one of the brethren suggested that the revelation should also provide for a total abstinence from tea and coffee drinking, intending this as a counter dig at the sisters.
David Whitmer, Des Moines Daily News, October 16, 1886, p. 20
Joseph Smith III
About 1842, a new and larger house was built for us.... Father proceeded to build an extensive addition running out from the south wing to the east.... At any rate, it seemed spacious then, and a sign was put out giving it the dignified name of 'The Nauvoo Mansion,' ... Mother was to be installed as landlady, and soon made a trip to Saint Louis.... When she returned Mother found installed in the keeping‑room of the hotel ‑ that is to say, the main room where the guests assembled and where they were received upon arrival — a bar, with counter, shelves, bottles, glasses, and other paraphernalia customary for a fully‑equipped tavern bar, and Porter Rockwell in charge as tender. She was very much surprised and disturbed over this arrangement, but said nothing for a while... she asked me where Father was. I told her he was in the front room... Then she told me to go and tell him she wished to see him. I obeyed, and returned with him to the hall where Mother awaited him. 'Joseph,' she asked, 'for the spiritual head of a religious body to be keeping a hotel in which is a room fitted out as a liquor‑selling establishment.' He reminded her that all taverns had their bars at which liquor was sold or dispensed. Mother's reply came emphatically clear, though uttered quietly: 'Well, Joseph, ... I will take my children and go across to the old house and stay there, for I will not have them raised up under such conditions as this arrangement imposes on us, nor have them mingle with the kind of men who frequent such a place. You are at liberty to make your choice; either that bar goes out the house, or we will!' It did not take Father long to make that choice, for he replied immediately, 'Very well, Emma; I will have it removed at once' — and he did.
Joseph Smith III, The Saint's Herald, January 22, 1935, p. 101
Hubert Howe Bancroft
Stills were afterward obtained from emigrants, and the manufacture and sale of alcohol were later controlled by the city councils. The first bar‑room in S.L. City, and the only one for years, was in the Salt Lake House, owned by President Young and Feramorz Little. It was opened for the accommodation of travelers, whose requirements would be supplied by some one, and it was thought by the brethren that they had better control the trade than have outsiders do so.
Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of Utah, p. 540, footnote 44
Ezra Pierce
[It was] common then for everybody to drink, and to have a drink in the field; one time Joe, while working for some one after he was married, drank too much boiled cider. He came in with his shirt torn; his wife felt bad about it, and when they went home, she put her shawl on him.
Ezra Pierce, Saint's Herald, v. 28, no. 11, June 1, 1881, p. 167
Ezra Pierce
Did young Joe drink? Everybody drank them times.... They would have it at huskings, and in the harvest field, and places of gathering; the Smiths did not drink more than others.
Ezra Pierce, Saint's Herald, v. 28, no. 11, June 1881, p. 163
J. Reuben Clark
I said John and Leah [Widtsoe] had stirred up more trouble with their dietary ideas [against caffeinated soda] than any one else and that except for my affection for them I would have urged the Brethren to restrict their activities.
J. Reuben Clark, Office diary of J. Reuben Clark, 18 Oct. 1948
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