Reason #87: The Word of Wisdom–Part Two

Past Church leaders were adamant in their condemnation of the liquor and tobacco industries. The Word of Wisdom, according to its own admission, was given “in consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the minds of conspiring men” (89:4). Dr. Sperry, in his Doctrine and Covenants Compendium, characterized the directors of the tobacco industry as “men without conscience . . . moral cowards,” and mentioned the “lack of ethics and morality” of the liquor industry. But it is a documented fact that Joseph Smith sold liquor in Nauvoo, and Brigham Young in Utah built a distillery and sold alcoholic beverages — both instances occurring after the Word of Wisdom “revelation.” At one time, the largest liquor business in the state of Utah was run by the LDS Church-owned department store, Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI).   Joseph F. Smith confirmed the fact that ZCMI sold liquors but excused it by saying that if any unfortunate who depended upon liquor didn’t buy it at ZCMI, he would just go somewhere else. So much for being your brother’s keeper!

For more information, see The Mormon Mirage 3rd Edition:  A Former Member Looks at the Mormon Church Today(Zondervan, 2009). Also available as an audiobook and as an expanded-text E-book for Nook, Kindle and other reading devices.

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