The history of the Word of Wisdom, May 22, 1835

-- May 22, 1835
[Quorum of Twelve] Freedom N. York, May 22, 1835. This morning agreeably to appointment, conference met in this place. The twelve apostles or travelling high council being present, after an agreeable salutation and rejoicing in each other's prosperity, Elder D. W. Patten being chairman conference was opened by singing and prayer by the president.

Resolved that the limits of this conference extend from Lodi in the west so far East as to include Avon, South to Pennsylvania and North to Lake Ontario to be called the Â"Freedom Conference" including the branches of Freedom, Rushford, Portage, Grove, Burns, ? , and Avon, Java, Holland, Aurora, Green-Wood and Niagara.

An inquiry was made of the Elders present relative to their labours and teachings since their call to the ministry and also the inquiry was extended concerning all those who lived in the bounds of this Conference. They were found to be in good standing and generally striving to be faithful in their callings. No travelling Elders were represented to have recently passed through these regions whoso conduct, faithfulness or teachings were not good. The presiding Elder, W. A. Cowdry represented the branch in this place to be 65 in number in good fellowship. F. Eaton represented the branch in Rushford to be 28 in number & altho[ugh] young, yet strong in the faith. Priest W. Marks represented the branch in Portage to be in fellowship but do not generally obey the "word of wisdom". He also represented the church in Grove to have remained the same as when last represented. Also the church in Burns to be 30 in good standing. Ginrsio and Java not represented. Holland branch represent
ed by Elder P. P. Pratt to be 15 in number who had suffered much from false teaching by hypocrit[e]s and knaves. Aurora also to be 4 in number. Green-wood not represented. Niagara by Elder Jacobs to be 4 in number also a few brethren liveing [sic] in Mansfield and round about were represented by Elder J. Murdock as wanting instruction. The representation of the church closed about 3 o'clock P.M. and the council then proceeded to give some general and particular instructions relative to the Â"word of wisdom", the gift of tongues and interpretation, prophecyings [sic] and of a proper use of all the spiritual gifts &c. after these remarks conference adjourned until tomorrow morning -- (1)

-- May 26, 1835
W. W. Phelps, having just arrived in Kirtland, writes to his wife about the remarkable unity of the Saints at that place, stating, "They keep the word of wisdom, drink cold water, and don't even mention tea and coffee; they pray night and morning." (Donna Hill, Joseph Smith: The First Mormon 188.) (2)

-- Jun 6, 1835
[Joseph Smith] A conference is held in New Portage, Ohio, presided over by Oliver Cowdery. Some are tried for breaking the Word of Wisdom, and some new members are baptized. (2)

-- Jun 19, 1835
[Quorum of Twelve] Pillow-Point N. Y. June 19, 1835 According to previous appointment, nine of the counsellors met with the church in conference. Elder W. E. Mc. Lellin Chairman.

Resolved, that the limits of this conference embrace all then northeastern parts of this state to be called the "Black River Conference." Upon inquiry it was found that the Elders in the bounds of this conf. had generally been dilligent in their callings and ministry. There manner of teaching, in some respects, needed correction and they willingly received our teaching and instructions.

Elder Thomas Cutcher represented the church in this place to be 21 in fellowship, but do not generally observe the "words of wisdom." Elder Calvin B. Childs represented the church in Sackets Harbour to be 19 in number. The branch at Burville was represented by Elder Ducher to be 7 in number, also 6 in the town of Champion all in good standing. The branch in Ellis burgh was represented by Elder James Blakeslee to be 33 in number also 4 in Henderson. Elder Ira Patten represented 4 in Alexandria and 4 in the Town of Lyme, also 2 in Orleans, as being very anxious to have Elders call on them and add to their numbers. Elder Fuller represented 6 in Stockholm and Three in Potsdam. The opinion of all the travelling Elders was that a great field for faithful labours was open in this region.

Five of the Counsellors then proceeded to give the Conference such information upon church government the nature of the spiritual gifts, and the exercise of these in wisdom, upon the Â"word of wisdom" and also upon the propriety of choosing wise men and sending them with their moneys to purchase lands in Zion and in the regions round about, so that they might not gather in confusion but have all things prepared before them. The conference unanimously acquiesced in the teachings of the counsellors & resolved to put them in practice as fast as practicable. Adjourned until the 20th Then met and John Elmer was presented as holding very incorrect principles, such for instance that the spirit of God sometimes took him and threw, him down and that he could die the death of the righteous and of the wicked in order show his power with God. He also stated that he had passed through a kind of death so as to become immortal & should exist forever without any other death or change only g
row brighter and brighter eternally. He persisted in these things and would not receive the teachings of the council, nor give heed to the faith of the church, therefore the conference lifted their hands against him. Conference closed and after public meeting and breaking bread among the saints, the next day 2 persons were baptised & added to the church. Public meeting closed on Monday forenoon after having a good season and much liberty in teaching. -- (1)

1 - Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: Minutes of Meetings and Other Documents--Excerpts, 1835-1896,
2 - Conklin, Christopher J., Joseph Smith Chronology

LDS History Chronology: the Word of Wisdom

Mormon Timeline: the Word of Wisdom