History of the Word of Wisdom, 1935 to 1937

-- During 1935 to 1937
[Hugh B. Brown] He also formed a lifelong allegiance with the Democratic party, which led to an unsuccessful run for political office and an unpleasant term of service as first chairman of Utah's Liquor Control Commission from 1935 to 1937. (1)

-- During 1935
[Prohibition] The violence accompanying prohibition, the rise of gangs and gangland warfare in large cities like Chicago, the failure of the Eighteenth Amendment to end alcohol consumption, the realization that prohibition would not solve the nation's social and economic problems, and the crisis of the Great Depression were all factors that led to the repeal of prohibition. However, repeal did not bring a return to the old practice of open and unregulated sale of liquor. In 1935 the state of Utah began selling liquor through state-operated stores, a practice that has continued to the present. (2)

-- During 1936
(Fawn M. Brodie) They had met in the student cafeteria: "Because I was tall and could easily be seen, and because I needed work to help pay school expenses, I was given a special job at the University of Chicago cafeteria. I carried a big coffee pot and poured second cups of coffee. When I poured an extra cup for Bernie, he gave me two red carnations. He brought me flowers every day for the next six weeks, when we were married." (3)

-- April 26, 1937
Evils of Alcohol-- The Eighteenth Amendment had been repealed four years earlier, "contrary to the wishes of the General Authorities of the Church." (See ECH, 1935 ed., p. 644.)

By this letter, the First Presidency authorized a campaign to combat the evils of the use of alcohol, such campaign to be spearheaded by the Council of the Twelve. In the letter, they state that "Total abstinence is the best means of securing, maintaining and enforcing prohibition of intoxicating liquors; and abstinence and self-control are fostered by educationÃÂ. "


April 26, 1937. President Rudger Clawson and Members of the Council of the Twelve.

Dear Brethren:

In your communication of March 18, 1937, you say that you have given consideration to methods of combating the increasing trend toward the use of alcohol and other intoxicating beverages even among members of our Church, and, as a result of your study, you offer eight definite recommendations which we approve as follows:

1. You may proceed to organize a campaign throughout the Church against the use of alcoholic beverages. We suggest, however, that while you major your attention against the use of alcohol in particular, that you continue to lay special emphasis upon the evils that follow the use of the cigarette and other forms of tobacco.

2. We commend your plan to make this campaign a project for all the Priesthood quorums, both Melchizedek and Aaronic, charging the quorums with the responsibility of (a) keeping their own members free from the vice of using alcohol and tobacco and (b) assisting all others to do likewise.

3. Consult the Presiding Bishopric with a view of securing their cooperation and that of the Aaronic Priesthood in the carrying out of the proposed program.

4. Auxiliary organizations should give to the Priesthood quorums such help in the campaign as may be consistently requested of them by Priesthood quorums.

5. The preparation and distribution to the various quorums of report blanks upon which shall be recorded, at times designated, the progress of the quorums in the elimination of drinking among their members, will be a helpful and contributive factor in the success of this project.

6. Regarding officers of quorums disciplining weak and recalcitrant members who persist in the use of intoxicants, we suggest that you emphasize the importance of getting these recalcitrant members into some activity through which they may gain strength to overcome their weakness. The skill of true leadership is shown not in disfellowshipment or excommunication, but in conversion.

7. Providing the quorums with literature, moving and sound pictures and production machines, and any other facilities and material, we most heartily endorse. We commend you for taking advantage of the moving picture and sound production machines as educational factors in this project.

8. We cannot think of the nature of the campaign you propose being anything else but educational and spiritual. This it should be in the truest sense of the word. It should not and must not be tinctured with political or partisan issues.

Slogans are battle cries, and are truly effective when the heat of a campaign justifies their use. When repeated listlessly without spirit behind them, they become worse than ineffective. We suggest that you consider very carefully the advisability of choosing a slogan.

We commend you for your desire to adopt effective measures to counteract the growing evil of intemperance and cigarette smoking, particularly among the young people of our Church. Total abstinence is the best means of securing, maintaining and enforcing prohibition of intoxicating liquors; and abstinence and self-control are fostered by education and true enlightenment regarding the evils of alcohol and tobacco.

May the Lord bless your efforts to the good of the young people of the Church, the State, and the Nation, we remain.

Sincerely your brethren, HEBER J. GRANT, DAVID O. MCKAY, First Presidency. {1937-April 26-Improvement Era 40:105, February, 1937.} (4)

1 - Utah History Encyclopedia: Hugh B. Brown, http://www.media.utah.edu/UHE/b/BROWN%2CHUGH.html
2 - Utah History Encyclopedia: Prohibition, http://www.media.utah.edu/UHE/p/PROHIBITION.html
3 - Van Wagoner, Richard and Walker, Steven C., A Book of Mormons, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies
4 - Clark, James R., Messages of the First Presidency, (6 volumes) by James R. Clark

LDS History Chronology: the Word of Wisdom

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