History of the Word of Wisdom, May 5, 1898

-- May 5, 1898
The First Presidency and Twelve discussed the Word of Wisdom. One member reads from the twelfth volume of the Journal of Discourses a statement by Brigham Young that seems to support the notion that the Word of Wisdom was a commandment of God. Lorenzo Snow, then President of the Council of the Twelve agrees, saying that he believes the Word of Wisdom was a commandment and that it should be carried out to the letter. In doing so, he says, members should be taught to refrain from eating meat except in dire necessity, because Joseph Smith had taught that animals have spirits. Wilford Woodruff, then President of the Church, says he looks upon the Word of Wisdom as a commandment and that all members should observe it, but for the present, no definite action should be taken except that the members should be taught to refrain from meat. The minutes of the meeting record that "President Woodruff said he regarded the Word of Wisdom in its entirety as given of the Lord for the Latter-d
ay Saints to observe, but he did not think that Bishops should withhold recommends from persons who did not adhere strictly to it." (1)

-- Sep 2, 1898
Wilford Woodruff: Died 2 September 1898 at San Francisco, San Francisco County, California. (2)

-- Oct 1, 1898.
[Apostle Anthony W. Ivins Diary] ... Heber J. Grant had always paid his tithing with pleasure. Two dollars is spent in breaking the Word of Wisdom for every dollar paid in tithing.... (3)

-- Nov 6, 1898
[Apostle Heber J. Grant Diary] If I was glad last evening that I did not speak in the Theater this AM I feel to thank the Lord that I did not do so, BH Roberts' reply to Gov. Wells in this morning's Herald disgusts me almost if not quite as much as the Governor's speech did. Politics is a good thing to have nothing to do with. (went to American Fork, I started to speak but was called to the telephone simply to learn that JH Moyle wanted to talk with me. I returned to the meeting & spoke about an hour. [On train] I met Apostle Brigham Young on the train and we chatted together on the political situation. He agreed with me perfectly that Bro[ther] Wells had made a great mistake and that Bro[ther] Roberts had done equally as bad in replying the way that he had. About 11 I concluded to go downtown and chat with Ja[me]s H. Moyle I found him and BH Roberts Democratic Headquarters. I read Gov. Wells' reply to BH Roberts and what Roberts had written in reply to the reply and suggeste
d one or two slight modifications, but Roberts did not adopt my suggestions. I did not want him to use "Phillip drunk and Phillip sober" and one or two more expressions. I plainly told him in my opinion he had made a great mistake in replying to Bro[ther] Wells the way he had. It was after midnight when I got home. (4)

-- Jan 5, 1899
[Apostle Heber J. Grant Diary] Meeting of the apostles in the Temple at llam Pres[iden]ts Snow Cannon & Smith, Apostles Richards, Lyman, Smith, Teasdale, Taylor, Lund, Cowley, Woodruff, Clawson and myself were present. Apostle Lund presented [proposition for meeting house in Demmark approved.] John Henry Smith suggested that an auditing committee be appd. All of these who spoke on the proposition favored it very heartily. Pres Snow was decidedly in favor of such a Committee and said he was working in the dark. Wanted all of his transactions fully examined and audited. Said no one can be hurt by such a committee and some might be greatly benefitted. There may be some transactions that can be explained to our entire satisfaction during the life of Pres[iden]ts Cannon & Smith that could not be explained to our perfect satisfaction after their death. Pres[iden]t Snow appointed FD Richards, Francis M Lyman, John Henry Smith Rudger Clawson and me as the auditing committee. The disc
ussion took a very wide range (he said hurt by his allowance having been cut back without consultation, when had money gave generously,) now that I was ruined financially I felt my brethren should have been generous with me This afternoon attended a meeting at Pres[iden]t Snow's office where the affairs of the Sterling mine was fully discussed. The are in a very bad condition and as the Church has endorsed for a very large sum of money it looks as if it will be called on the make a large loss. Called at McCune headquarters and learned that Frank J. Cannon has been on a big drunk and visiting houses of ill fame. I hope and pray for his father's and mother's sake that these is nothing in this report. (4)

1 - On This Day in Mormon History, http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com
2 - Cook, Lyndon W., The Revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith: A Historical and Biographical Commentary of the Doctrine and Covenants, Seventy's Mission Bookstore, Provo UT, 1985, http://amzn.to/RevelationsofJosephSmith
3 - Diary Excerpts of Anthony W. Ivins, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies
4 - Diary Excerpts of Heber J. Grant, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies

LDS History Chronology: the Word of Wisdom

Mormon Timeline: the Word of Wisdom