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In the Word of Wisdom the 2nd verse states that it was given not by way of commandment. When did that change to a commandment?




Dear Daniel,

In 1933 the General Handbook of instruction listed living the Word of Wisdom as a requirement to enter the temple. This was 100 years after the revelation. Before that the Church did strongly promote, encourage and otherwise prepare the Church membership to live it fully.

In the October 1913 Conference report Joseph F. Smith noted:


“The reason undoubtedly why the Word of Wisdom was given—as not by ‘commandment or restraint’ was that at that time, at least, if it had been given as a commandment it would have brought every man, addicted to the use of these noxious things, under condemnation; so the Lord was merciful and gave them a chance to overcome, before He brought them under the law.”


This is something to keep in mind if you are looking into church history.  If you do so you will encounter faithful members, who by our current standards broke the Word of Wisdom, and remained good and faithful members. We should not seek to justify breaking the commandment to live the Word of Wisdom by what was allowed in the past. Instead we should understand that the Lord gave the Church a grace period due to the weakness of the Saints in living the Word of Wisdom, but that period has now passed.





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