History of the Word of Wisdom, May 27, 1917

-- May 27, 1917
[Apostle Heber J. Grant Diary] Related some personal experiences regarding the benefits of example. Told of the excommunication of Lorenzo D. Young because of breaking the Word of Wisdom. Related my experience as a young child in attending family prayers in the Lion House; stated that on more than one occasion I had opened my eyes and looked around, when President Young was praying, to see if the Lord was not standing there, because it seemed as though President Young were talking to him. (1)

-- Aug 1, 1917
[Prohibition] In his first message to the state legislature, newly elected Governor Bamberger identified enactment of prohibition legislation as the first duty of the legislature. Contending prohibition bills were introduced during the session. One, modeled on an Oklahoma law, called for a prohibition commissioner to enforce the law, banned all beverages containing in excess of one-half of one percent alcohol by volume, and allowed, under certain circumstances, for the search and seizure of alcoholic beverages without a search warrant. The other bill provided for enforcement by the governor and attorney general through the existing law enforcement system, raised the allowable alcohol content to two percent, and did not provide exceptions to the need for a search warrant. An uneasy compromise was passed with only one dissenting vote. The compromise legislation retained the one-half of one percent limit, but did not include the prohibition commissioner or the exceptions for sea
rch warrants. The law, signed by Governor Bamberger, went into effect on 1 August 1917. The law recognized that some products containing alcohol were legitimate; they included patented medicines, flavoring extracts, pure grain alcohol for scientific and industrial purposes, and sacramental wines. (2)

-- During 1917
[Prohibition] The prohibition movement called for the adoption of laws to prohibit the manufacture, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages. The adoption of prohibition in Utah followed a course that paralleled that of other states throughout the nation in many respects and yet encountered issues and obstacles that were unique to Utah. Utah did not enact prohibition legislation until 1917, when it became the twenty-fourth state to adopt statewide prohibition; however, since most of the other twenty-four states already had passed local option laws, Utah was one of the last states to pass legislation regulating the manufacture and consumption of alcohol. (2)

-- During 1917 to 1933
[Prohibition] Although both Utah law and the U.S. Constitution outlawed alcohol, it was still produced, sold, and consumed during the period of prohibition from 1917 to 1933, and public officials were often frustrated in their attempts to enforce the law. As what had been the legitimate businesses became illegal, the enterprises became part of an underground institution of bootleggers and speakeasies. People in many different occupations were identified with the illegal trade. In their study of prohibition in southeastern Utah, Jody Bailey and Robert S. McPherson found that "Mormons and gentiles, miners and cowboys, farmers and businessmen, Mexicans and Navajos all trafficked in liquor." Many, but certainly not all the violators of prohibition were immigrants from southern and eastern Europe for whom moderate alcohol consumption was a long-established way of life. In some communities, even local law enforcement officers were involved in the illegal alcohol business. (2)

1 - Diary of Heber J. Grant, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies
2 - Utah History Encyclopedia: Prohibition, http://www.media.utah.edu/UHE/p/PROHIBITION.html

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