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One anti-Mormon writer claimed that the witnesses to the Book of Mormon were drunk at the time they received their vision concerning the plates. We have been unable to find any evidence to support this accusation. There is, however, evidence to show that wine was used to excess in the Kirtland Temple at the very time the Mormons were claiming to receive visions.

William Harris said:

"In the evening, they met for the endowment. The fast was then broken by eating light wheat bread, and drinking as much wine as they saw proper. Smith knew well how to infuse the spirit which they expected to receive; so he encouraged the brethren to drink freely, telling them that the wine was consecrated, and would not make them drunk....they began to prophecy, pronouncing blessings upon their friends, and curses upon their enemies. If I should be so unhappy as to go to the regions of the damned, I never expect to hear language more awful, or more becoming the infernal pit, than was uttered that night." (Mormonism Portrayed, pp. 31-32)

Charles L. Walker, a faithful Mormon, recorded the following in his diary:

"Sun., Nov. 21, 1880....Bro. Milo Andress... Spoke of blessings and power of God manifested in the Kirtland Temple. Said he once asked the Prophet who [why?] he (Milo) did not feel that power that was spoken of as the power which was felt on the day of Pentecost?...when we had fasted for 24 hours and partaken of the Lord's supper, namely a piece of bread as big as your double fist and half a pint of wine in the temple, I was there and saw the Holy Ghost descend upon the heads of those present like cloven tongues of fire." ("Diary of Charles L. Walker," 1855-1902, Excerpts Typed, 1969, page 35)

The statement by the Mormon Apostle George A. Smith would also lead a person to believe that wine was used to excess:

"...after the people had fasted all day, they sent out and got wine and bread,...they ate and drank,...some of the High Counsel of Missouri stepped into the stand, and, as righteous Noah did when he awoke from his wine, commenced to curse their enemies." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, page 216)

In a statement dated Feb. 27, 1885, Mrs. Alfred Morley made this comment:

"I have heard many Mormons who attended the dedication, or endowment of the Temple, say that very many became drunk.... The Mormon leaders would stand up to prophesy and were so drunk they said they could not get it out, and would call for another drink. Over a barrel of liquor was used at the service." (Naked Truths About Mormonism, Oakland, California, April, 1888, p. 2)

Isaac Aldrich stated:

"My brother, Hazen Aldrich, who was president of the Seventies, told me when the Temple was dedicated a barrel of wine was used and they had a drunken 'pow-wow.'" (Ibid., p. 3)

Stephen H. Hart gave this information:

"Mr. McWhithey, who was a Mormon...said he attended a service which lasted from 10 A.M. until 4 P.M., and there was another service in the evening. The Lord's Supper was celebrated and they passed the wine in pails several times to the audience, and each person drank as much as he chose from a cup. He said it was mixed liquor, and he believed the Mormon leaders intended to get the audience under the influence of the mixed liquor, so they would believe it was the Lord's doings.... When the liquor was repassed, Mr. McWhithey told them he had endowment enough, and said he wanted to get out of the Temple, which was densely crowded." (Ibid., page 3)

The reader will remember that David Whitmer, one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon, called the endowment "a trumped up yarn" and said that "there was no visitation." (The Des Moines Daily News, October, 16, 1886) The fact that the Mormons fasted for some time and then drank an excessive amount of wine probably led many of them to curse their enemies and to believe that they had seen visions.


The Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt once stated:

"I do not wonder that the world say that the Latter-day Saints do not believe their own revelations. Why? Because we do not practice them." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 17, p. 104)

We have shown that Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, did not keep the Word of Wisdom, yet, according to Joseph Fielding Smith, Joseph Smith taught that a member of the Church could not hold an office unless he observed the Word of Wisdom:

"One question considered was as follows: 'Whether disobedience to the word of wisdom was a transgression sufficient to deprive an official member from holding office in the Church, after having it sufficiently taught him?' After a free and full discussion Joseph Smith, who presided, gave his decision as follows: 'No official member in this Church is worthy to hold an office after having the word of wisdom properly taught him; and he, the official member, neglecting to comply with or obey it.' This decision was confirmed by unanimous vote." (Essentials in Church History, page 169)

It is certainly strange that Joseph Smith could break the Word of Wisdom and yet retain his position as President of the Church. The thing that makes this especially strange is that when a member of the Church did not observe the Word of Wisdom, this was sometimes used against him if he was tried for his fellowship. Leonard J. Arrington stated:

"Moreover, when a council at Far West tried a high church official (David Whitmer) for his fellowship, the first of the five charges against him was that he did not observe the Word of Wisdom." (Brigham Young University Studies, Winter 1959, page 40)

As we have already shown, when Almon W. Babbitt was charged with not observing the Word of Wisdom, his only defence was that he "had taken the liberty to break the Word of Wisdom, from the example of President Joseph Smith, Jun., and others." We have also shown that after Joseph Smith's death, Brigham Young and other Church leaders did not observe the Word of Wisdom.

It is a well known fact that Ann Eliza Webb, who was married to Brigham Young, later left Young and wrote a book against the Mormon Church. Dr. Hugh Nibley tried to discredit her book by stating that she was never a good Mormon:

"She may have detested the man, but if she really believed in his religion, as she perpetually protests, her behavior would have been totally different: at the very least she would have gone to prayers, kept the word of wisdom, and paid tithing--none of which she did." (Sounding Brass, page 152)

Using the same argument, we would ask Dr. Nibley why Joseph Smith and Brigham Young did not keep the Word of Wisdom?

Heber C. Kimball, who was a member of the First Presidency, once stated that "virtuous Saints,... will not sell whiskey, and stick up grogeries, and establish distilleries,..." (Journal of Discourses, v. 2, p. 161)

This statement seems very strange when we learn that Joseph Smith sold whiskey in Nauvoo, and that Brigham Young built a distillery and sold alcoholic beverages in Utah. Even the Mormon-owned Zions Cooperative Mercantile Institution (now known as ZCMI) sold the items forbidden by the Word of Wisdom.

George A. Smith, a member of the First Presidency, made this statement:

"We are doing a great business in tea, coffee, and tobacco in the Cooperative Store." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 16, p. 238. 7.10.1873.)

In 1908 the Salt Lake Tribune accused the Mormon leaders of trying to monopolize the liquor business in Utah:

"...the Mormon priesthood...resisted to the utmost the establishment of liquor houses by Gentiles here for a good while, not because they were liquor houses, but because the Gentiles were getting the trade.... This fierce effort to retain the liquor traffic here as a monopoly of the church was quite in accord with the present status of affairs here where the church is running the biggest liquor business in the state, through its Z.C.M.I. drug store and also through the big liquor business done by Apostle Smoot in his drug store at Provo.... By means of auxiliary companies like the Z.C.M.I. drug company they maintain a huge liquor trade for the benefit of the church hierarchs, and the trustee-in-trust for the church, and at the same time claim to be special advocates of the temperance cause; and while taking the tremendous profits of that trade, throw up their hands in horror at the idea of people spending so much money for liquor....denying all responsibility for it, while at the same time pocketing the profits and getting away with the rewards." (Salt Lake Tribune, July 14, 1908)

It would appear that even some of the Mormons were shocked by the fact that the Church-owned Z.C.M.I. sold items which were forbidden in the Word of Wisdom. Joseph F. Smith, who became the sixth President of the Church, tried to justify the sale of these items in the Church store:

"Some of our pretended 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,' sold tea and coffee, and tobacco, and other things 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 the 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 the 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." (Conference Report, April 1898, page 11)

It is interesting to note that Joseph F. Smith served as President of Z.C.M.I.--as well as President of the Mormon Church--at the time liquor was sold there. In the Reed Smoot Case we find the following testimony:

"Mr. Carlisle. You are traffic manager of the Zion Cooperative Mercantile Institution, I believe?
"Mr. Love. Yes, sir.
"Mr. Carlisle. Does it not deal in liquors?
"Mr. Love. It does.
"Mr. Carlisle. Who is the President of that concern?
"Mr. Love. Joseph F. Smith." (Reed Smoot Case, Vol. 4, pp. 318-319)

Although the Word of Wisdom contains some good precepts, it is obviously a product of the thinking of Joseph Smith's times. Alcoholic beverages were condemned by the temperance movement years before Joseph Smith gave his "revelation." Although Smith was correct in stating that tobacco is harmful, we do not feel that this proves that his "revelation" is divinely inspired. The Wayne Sentinel--a newspaper printed in the neighborhood where Joseph Smith grew up--published these statements concerning tobacco three years before Joseph Smith gave the "Word of Wisdom":

"It is really surprising that a single individual could be found, who, after experiencing the distressing sensations almost invariably produced by the first use of tobacco, would be willing to risk their recurrence a second time:...tobacco is, in fact, an absolute poison.....

"We have ourselves known individuals, in whom very severe and dangerous affections of the stomach--tremors of the limbs, and great emaciation, were referable to excessive smoking and chewing, and which were removed only after these habits were entirely relinquished." (Wayne Sentinel, November 6, 1829)



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