In 1981, Dialogue published Lester Bush's groundbreaking article "The Word of Wisdom in Early Nineteenth-Century Perspective." It began, "despite its high visibility in every day Mormon life, the Word of Wisdom has received remarkably little attention in scholarly journals." The article was so popular, that issue of Dialogue sold out, and a special reprint of Bush's article was issued.
Today, the history of the Word of Wisdom is still compelling. Adopted as an outward badge of Mormonism during the prohibition years, the Word of Wisdom has proven to be a prophetic revelatory suggestion turned commandment. As Lester Bush concludes in his article:
'...whatever merit or function the Word of Wisdom had for the nineteenth century Mormons, in retrospect we know that circumstances changed around the turn of the century in such a way that its guidelines could unquestionably promote better physical health .... That this development--the implications of which were not apparent to the medical scientists for decades--coincided with a decision by the church leadership to require firm adherence to the Word of Wisdom is quite remarkable. It may well represent their most demonstrably prescient insight to date in helping assure that the "destroying angel" of disease will "pass us by."'In conjunction with the 2012 Relief Society/Priesthood Manual, the next topic will be the life of George Albert Smith.
George Albert Smith became the 8th president of the LDS Church. LDS-Church-History will provide a detailed chronology of his life base on a variety of sources.