As a casual researcher of Utah and Mormon history, I’ve been unable to understand the Word Of Wisdom, particularly in relation to the suggested use of barley to drink, and why some hot drinks are allowed and others not. (It’s not an addiction to caffeine thing. Which is a common belief. Current church stance is caffeine is fine.)

I know that for years the Word Of Wisdom was not inforced and that pioneers where incuraged by church leaders to drink coffee for medical resons while trekking to Utah. I also know early Utah was known for its beer and “Mormon Whiskey” (as Mark Twain put it). But at some point in 1921(? ) the rules of the Word Of Wisdom was defined and inforced. At which point coffee, tea, and alcohol were restricted.”Hot drinks” are now described as coffee and tea, but hot herbal tea and hot chocolate, which are both allowed.

The Word of Wisdom recommends drinking barley (beer), but after the 1921 crackdown, is now banned. I know this is a controversial subject. I’m not looking to rouse anger, but hoping for honnist insight on the matter. It seems the 1921 crackdown is also the epicenter of the confussion regarding the exact requirements of Word Of Wisdom. Anybody have any insight on these matters? Why things changed at that point? And why the Word of Wisdom was difined/altered at that time? Thanks.

Paul from Logan,



One Response to “As a casual researcher of Utah and Mormon history, I’ve…”


Diego Miranda
2018-02-18 10:54:26
Hi friend. Your description of the word of wisdom's history and interpretation is generally correct. Where there may be a misunderstanding, though, is in thinking that the word of wisdom (or any revelation) is static or fixed.

Mormons believe in ongoing, continuing revelation. God can modify His commandments as required for our modern situation. He makes these modifications by revealing His will to prophets and apostles.

The details of the word of wisdom have changed over the years. When they change, it's because God in His wisdom saw the need for a change.

It's likely the details of the word of wisdom will continue to change in the future as well. The principles will stay the same, but changing social circumstances may lead God to clarify those principles to best benefit His children.

I hope this answer helps. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. I'm happy to help.

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