Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » The Whole Year Through: Melchizedek Priesthood, 1938

The Whole Year Through: Melchizedek Priesthood, 1938

By: Ardis E. Parshall - October 07, 2009

The Melchizedek Priesthood quorums discussed the Word of Wisdom in 1938.

I don’t mean they had a lesson about it, like we did in Sunday School earlier this year. I mean that every quorum, every week, for the entire year, discussed some facet of the Word of Wisdom, using a book by John A. and Leah D. Widtsoe as a text. The whole year. Every week.

Below is the class leader’s outline to accompany the text. It’s a lot of screens of outline, but you can skim through lightly and still get a sense of the breadth of topics covered.

Anything that surprises or pleases you? What effect might such a sustained focus have on the place of the Word of Wisdom in the Church? What other single sections of scripture might be worked into a full-year course of study?

Outline for Study Course for All Quorums of the Melchizedek Priesthood [1938]

The text for the 1938 study course is a book entitled “The Word of Wisdom – A Modern Interpretation,” by John A. Widtsoe and Leah D. Widtsoe. All quorum members should provide themselves with copies of this book which may be obtained form the Deseret Book Company, 44 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah. If six or more copies are ordered at a time, the price will be $1.00 per copy; single copies cost $1.25.

There will be thirty-two lessons in the whole course, or eight lessons per quarter. This will leave ample time for the twelve fast meetings which should be quorum activities, and for such Sundays as may be occupied by stake conferences and other similar events.

The following outline may help indicating the subjects in each lesson that should be especially emphasized. The class leader and members should be thoroughly familiar with the text covered by the lesson; and the class hour should be devoted largely to a discussion of the material therein presented. Helps and illustrations should be drawn from general and local conditions. There should be no hesitancy in discussing fully the problems raised in the study course. Personal experience and observation, bearing on the lessons, are valuable. However, class discussion should be confined to lesson headings. Each lesson heading should be understood and discussed. It should be borne in mind that the lessons have an ascending value, and that a fully understanding of the message of this year’s course of study cannot be won until the whole course has been completed. This suggestive outline, and the problems at the end of each lesson, are merely helps, and should not be binding upon the class leader and the class.


I. Read the Text of the Word of Wisdom in Class.

a. When and where was it given.
b. The young Church, at that time, was rapidly receiving new truth.
c. Physical health is basic for mental and spiritual health.

II. There Are Four Divisions of the Word of Wisdom.

a. Introduction.
b. The negative health factors.
c. The positive health factors.
d. The conclusion: Rewards and promises.

III. The Present Health Conditions of Civilized Man Should Be Improved.

a. There has been much progress in human health.
b. Certain diseases are diminishing greatly.
c. Other diseases are increasing greatly.
d. Health statistics make clear the need of health instruction.


I. Nutrition is an Improvement Cause of Present Health Conditions.

a. Scholars agree on the necessity of proper nutrition.
b. There are serious weaknesses in the American diet.
c. Results of incorrect nutrition are very evident.
d. Certain diseases seem to accompany civilization.

II. Health Among Latter-day Saints is Usually Good, But Not as Perfect as It Should Be.

a. The Word of Wisdom is only partially observed.
b. Compared with leading nations, the good effect of observing the Word of Wisdom is obvious.
c. Changes in the death rates from five diseases serve as warning to the Latter-day Saints.
d. Why do not the Latter-day Saints have better health?

III. Disobedience to Any Part of the Word of Wisdom Reduces Human Welfare.

a. The mistakes of living are cumulative.
b. The tyranny of our appetites must be overcome.
c. The cost of ill health, in money, is tremendous.
d. Self control and intelligent mastery of our appetites is paramount.


I. Why Was the Word of Wisdom Given?

a. The habits of the early members of the Church were those of the community.
b. The Prophet gained knowledge by going to the Lord for help.
c. Conditions in the council of high Priests led to the request and the answer in the form of a revelation.

II. The Word of Wisdom Is a Law of the Church.

a. Man is never constrained to accept truth.
b. All divine law is “sent greeting.”
c. The Word of Wisdom came by revelation from God.
d. All blessings received by man are proportioned to his obedience.

III. Early Discussions About the Importance of the Word of Wisdom.

a. The High Council meeting of February 20, 1834.
b. The Priesthood meeting of 1838.
c. The words of Brigham Young.
d. The words of Heber J. Grant.
e. The application to present-day conditions.


I. The Word of Wisdom Is a Principle with a Promise.

a. It is for the “benefit” of the people.
b. It promises a healthy body.
c. It gives temporal “benefits.”
d. It strengthens man’s moral and spiritual fiber.

II. Can All Keep the Word of Wisdom?

a. It is adapted to the capacity of the weak.
b. Obedience to it brings quick returns in health, and therefore more strength to obey.
c. The conquest of the body is easier than the conquest of spirit.
d. Full obedience to the Word of Wisdom reduces the taste for the things forbidden.
e. One must have the desire to obey any law properly.

III. The Will Must Be Trained to obey God’s Law.

a. Desire depends on will.
b. Will breeds power.
c. Condition of a man may be measured by his will.
d. Prevention of a bad habit is better than its cure.


I. The Word of Wisdom Is a Warning as Well as a Guide.

a. It warns against evil minded persons.
b. Innocent persons may often be misled by those of an evil mind.
c. Advertising not always trustworthy.

II. Fraud Has Been Practiced Constantly in Human History.

a. In early days fraud was simple.
b. Now fraud has become more complex and therefore more dangerous.
c. Fraud is a result of evil intentions and greeds.

III. The Story of the Pure Food and Drug Law in the United States.

a. In 1879, the first attempt was made to secure such a law.
b. Not until 1906 was a partially satisfactory law passed by congress.
c. The present delay in improving the law is due to “pressure groups,” often representing fraud, or for better personal interests.

IV. There Are Innumerable Forms of Adulterations.

a. New knowledge has increased the means of adulterations.
b. Give some examples of adulteration.
c. Improving the looks of an inferior article is often done.
d. The danger of preservatives in food is serious.
e. Agencies that protect the public should be known and used.


I. Fraudulent Advertising Is a Public Menace.

a. There are misleading labels on packages.
b. Food materials are frequently incorrectly named.
c. Products are ‘boosted” under false claims.
d. The cost of advertising injurious products is gigantic. The consumer pays.

II. Public Fads Are Utilized by Unscrupulous Persons.

a. Give examples of some food fads.
b. Give examples of some current fads in your neighborhood.

III. Refined Foods Are Not an Unmixed Blessing.

a. They are used excessively due to want of knowledge.
b. False claims for them and ease of preparation increase the use.

IV. What Shall Be done About Fraud?

a. The public must be informed and aroused to action.
b. Safety must be sought in clinging to the Word of Wisdom.


I. What is Alcohol?

II. The Use of Alcohol Is an Age Old Evil.

a. The evil of it has long been recognized.
b. There have been many movements against the use of alcohol.
c. Anti-alcohol movements culminated about the time the Word of Wisdom was given.
d. Note the legislation against alcohol.

III. How Much Alcohol Is Consumed?

IV. Alcohol Is Not a Food.

a. Define food.
b. Contrast the differences between alcohol and food.

V. There Is Danger in the Temperate use of Alcohol.

VI. How Does Alcohol Affect the Mind?

a. The first effects like those of any narcotic.
b. What happens to the brain?
c. Give the testimony of Dr. Hugo Munsterberg, world-famous psychologist.
d. What is the final effect?


I. How Does Alcohol Affect the Body?

a. It causes lack of muscular control.
b. It diminishes endurance.
c. It makes motorists and aviators unsafe.
d. Athletes are injured by alcohol.
e. The children of drinking women are injured.
f. The higher centers of the brain are numbered numbed, giving ascendancy to the lower impulses.

II. Alcohol Leads to Disease.

a. The blood stream is tainted.
b. The stomach and digestive system are injured.
c. The liver becomes diseased.
d. The heart and circulatory system are weakened.
e. The drinker has reduced resistance to infection.

III. Much Social Injury is Due to Alcohol.

a. The moral sense becomes blurred.
b. Alcohol increases criminality.
c. Poverty is a result of alcoholism.
d. Alcohol increases accidents.
e. Human misery follows the use of alcohol.
f. Innocent families are its victims.

IV. Alcohol Is a Racial Poison.

V. Summary of the Indictment against Alcohol.

a. It injures body and mind, especially the nerves and brain.
b. It is the cause of human misery among other than the drinker.
c. It shortens human life.
d. The American Medical Association has declared against it.

VI. How May the Alcohol Evil Be Corrected?

a. First by education.
b. The will against it must be developed.
c. Substitutes must be found for it.
d. Obedience to positive aspects of Word of Wisdom helps overcome alcohol habit.
e. Prevention is better than cure.
f. Home and parents must set the right example.

VII. The Word of Wisdom Is Confirmed in Its Statement.

VIII. Wine Should Not Be Used in the Sacrament.

a. The meaning of Bible “wines” is misunderstood.
b. Under divine revelation, water may be substituted for wine.


I. Historical.

1. Smoking by human beings.
2. Beginnings and Purpose.
3. Composition of the weed.
4. Custom spreads to Europe.
5. Opposition of Leaders of the Day.
6. Jean Nicot and the use of his name.

II. Use in U.S.A. of Last Century.

1. Forms of tobacco indulgence.
2. The Prophet’s anxiety concerning the custom.
3. Results of his concern.
4. Beginnings of tobacco investigation.

III. Use in the Modern World.

1. Forms of use today.
2. Present users of tobacco – by both sexes.
3. Impetus of the world War.
4. Effects of Modern Advertising.

IV. Financial Aspects.

1. Figures show increase.
2. Consumption in U.S.
3. U.S. Tobacco bill.
4. World consumption.
5. Comparisons with national debt.
6. Better usages for money so spent.

V. World Committee for Tobacco Study.

1. All phases of subject studied.
2. Unbiased responses sought.
3. Reports for human welfare.
4. Dr. Schrumpf-Pierron’s Tobacco and Physical Efficiency.

VI. Effects on Human Body.

1. Nicotine, a deadly poison in all tobacco products.
2. Content in cigarettes cigars, snuff, pipe tobacco.
3. Body response to nicotine in any form.
4. Other substances in tobacco and their effects on the body.
5. Results of first attempts.
6. Body adapts itself, but harm is cumulative.
7. Influence on the immature person.

VII. Other and Later Physiological Effects.

1. Effect on heart and circulatory system.
2. Response of respiratory tract.
3. Digestive disturbance.
4. Effect on eyes, skin and other organs.
5. The nervous system injured.
6. As a racial poison.

VII. Mental Response.

1. Comparisons of non-smokers vs. smokers.
2. Results in high schools
3. Mental Accomplishments of college students.
4. Dr. F.J. Pack’s studies in Utah.
5. Dr. Oak’s contribution.
6. Consensus of opinion.


I. Moral and Social Effects of Tobacco.
1. The drug is habit-forming, hence weakens the will of the user.
2. To become a slave to any appetite is unsound.
3. User becomes selfish as he fouls the air of the non-user.
4. Careless life habits engendered.
5. Tendency toward other moral weakness, especially for youth.
6. Self-indulgence and self-narcotization is not noble.

II. As a Racial Poison.

1. Use from youth toward age tends toward weakened offspring.
2. Harmful effects on girls and women especially evident.
3.Women’s nervous organization naturally sensitive.
4. Nicotine in the system of the mother sure to affect the unborn or nursing child.
5. Over-indulgence tends toward lessened reproductive power in both sexes.

III. Tobacco and the Creative Gift.

1. World’s greatest achievements of the past by non-users of tobacco.
2. Men succeed in spite of, not because of tobacco.
3. A keen mind in a healthy body has greatest chance of success.
4. Life-long users of tobacco might live longer and accomplish more had they not the tobacco habit.
5. A will free of bondage is man’s greatest asset.

IV. Personal Opinions.

1. Excuses for the habit.
2. Indulgence produces a feeling of well being.
3. The tired body not rested by tobacco – merely narcotized.
4. Eminent men praise and oppose its use, according to their use or non-use.
5. All agree as to harmful effects on youth.
6. Employers in most large institutions prefer those who do not use tobacco – for obvious reasons.
7. Opinions of great men against its use.

V. Cure of the Habit.

1. The well-nourished body has no unnatural cravings.
2. Prevention is better than cure.
3. “The Will to Quit” is essential.
4. “Half and Half” measures not successful.
5. Six rules for conquering the habit.
6. Self-mastery is God-like.

VI. Other Factors to Consider.

1. Tobacco may be used as a poison and disinfectant.
2. Use of a mild narcotic often tends to the use of deadly ones: morphine, opium, and the degrading marijuana.
3. Methods of unscrupulous people in inducing youth to use these destructive weeds.
4. Prevention and protection against their inroads.

VII. The Inspiration of the Prophet.

1. General conclusion of Tobacco Evil.
2. Modern Israel foretold and forewarned.


I. Meaning of the Term.

1. Definition by Prophet and his brother Hyrum.
2. Refers not to temperature but to drugs increasing heart action.
3. Includes all stimulating beverages.
4. Excessively hot or iced drinks injurious also.
5. Scientific confirmation.

II. History of Tea and Coffee Consumption.

1. Use by ancient peoples.
2. Introduction into Europe and America.
3. Leaders of the past on record against its use.

III. Financial Aspects.

1. Consumption in U.S.
2. Per capita cost, total cost.
3. World consumption.
4. Unfortunately increasing.

IV. Composition of Harmful Beverages.

1. Discovery and description of caffeine.
2. Other harmful ingredients.
3. Chemical analogy between these alkaloids and urea, a waste product of animal body.
4. Formation of purin derivatives.

V. Physiological Effects.

1. Definite action of drugs.
2. Stimulation and depression.
3. nerve-whips always harmful.
4. Class with other habit-forming drugs.
5. Action of tannin on the body.
6. Effect on the brain and mind.
7. Response of the heart and circulation of blood.
8. Respiration and digestion also affected.
9. Irritation of kidneys.

VI. Hot Drinks and the Race.

1. Decidedly weakening.
2. Harmful for expectant and nursing mothers.
3. Especially harmful for children.
4. Their use and life expectancy.


I. Chocolate and Cocoa.

1. Their use and distribution.
2. Composition and food value.
3. Economic aspects.
4. Effects of theo-bromine on nerves and kidneys.
5. Control of the chocolate habit.

II. Other Stimulating Beverages.

1. Distribution of caffeine in other plants.
2. Other drug-containing drinks.
3. Implication of all drinks which ‘give one a lift” or are “delightfully refreshing” or which “banish that tired feeling.”
4. Injury of drinks containing caffeine in rich syrups.
5. Drinks or foods containing theophylline.

III. Curing the Caffeine Habit.

1. The “ounce of prevention’ advised.
2. A well and completely nourished body is the best defense against all unnatural cravings.
3. Firm determination to quit.
4. Use of substitutes, healthful drinks.

IV. Scientific Opinion Regarding Drug-Containing Drinks.

1. The Prophet Joseph probably unacquainted with this scientific literature.
2. Proof of his unquestioned inspiration.
3. Term “hot drink” inclusive of all drug-beverages.
4. Dr. W.E. Dixon’s contribution.
5. The body is rested and built up by health giving food and drink not by drugged concoctions.

V. Seeming Human Welfare.

1. Users of drugs claim work is provided by their use.
2. Health and welfare has no money value.
3. Other crops may be grown which are health-giving but non-injurious.
4. Chemurgy.


I. Positive Instructions of the Word of Wisdom.

1. Definition.
2. Importance.
3.To refrain from things forbidden is not enough.
4. Abstention from smoking, drinking alcohol or using tea or coffee is not a full guarantee of health.
5. Food money should purchase good health.

II. Science Confirms the Word of Wisdom.

1. Nutrition, as a science, not born in the Prophet’s day.
2. Step by step new truth concerning man’s nutrition has been discovered.
3. In every respect this new knowledge harmonizes with the Word of Wisdom.
4. Beware of “food fads.”

III. Proof Is Necessary.

1. New dietetic truth comes from investigation.
2. The inspired guide always coincides with truth.
3. Men may at times make false claims for things known to be injurious.
4. Prove all things; hold fast to truth.

IV. Functions of Food.

1. Build new tissue for growth.
2. Repair worn out cells.
3. Give energy for life processes.
4. Maintain body temperature.

V. Groups of Food Constituents.

1. Proteins (building foods).
2. Carbohydrates (starches, sugars for energy).
3. Hydro carbons, or fats (also energy foods).
4. Mineral salts (body regulators for blood, nerves and glands.)
5. Vitamins (for growth and health maintenance).
6. Water (for food distribution and other important functions).

VI. Obedience to All of the Word of Wisdom Leads to Health and Happiness.


I. Life’s Physical Cycle.

1. “Dust thou art.”
2. Plants “eat” the soil; animals eat plants.
3. How sunshine is necessary for plant’s growth.
4. Man’s bodily health connected through plants with soil composition.

II. Composition of Human Body.

1. Contains same elements as earth’s crust.
2. A comparison of the composition of the earth and the human body.
3. The elements found in the human body.

III. Importance of Soil Composition.

1.Conditions plant’s strength.
2. Minerals must be available to plants for growth.
3.Soils become exhausted by constant cropping.
4. Proper soil fertilization necessary.
5. Man’s body is dependent upon elements in plant food.
6. Health ultimately depends upon soil composition.

IV. Necessary Minerals.

1. The “basic thirteen.”
2. Importance of each; one may not be substituted for another.
3. The work of Drs. Greaves and Greaves.

V. Use of Minerals in Body Functions.

1. Calcium the outstanding mineral: a biological necessity,.
2. The function of calcium in nutrition.
3. Need of phosphorus, iron and copper.
4. Importance of iodine and its relation to mentality.
5. Other minerals needed in minute amounts.


I. Mineral Shortage in Diet.

1. If any one of the necessary minerals in food be absent for a time the body dies: all must be present in a form to be assimilated.
2. The dangers of mineral shortage.
3. The disease caused by lack of each well known mineral.
4. Mineral shortage and stunted growth.
5. Influence of mineral shortage on human as well as animal reproduction.
6. The minerals most lacking in soils of U.S.A.
7. The mineral lack of Utah soils.
8. Relation between diet and “nervous collapse.”

II. Minerals and Psychological Attitudes.

1. Effect of calcium shortage on nerves.
2. Dr. Timmi’s experiment.
3. Effects of mineral shortage on the glands and nerves of the body.
4. Possible relation between incomplete mineral content of foods and juvenile delinquency and criminal tendencies.
5. Effects of a shortage of mineral food on the “disposition.”

III. Source of Food Minerals.

1. The earth’s crust.
2. Factors which influence the content of the soil.
3. The soil conditions the mineral content of crops grown thereon.
4. Study of the table on page 118.
5. The best known foods and their mineral constituents.

IV. Mineral Requirement in the Diet.

1. The daily supply.
2. Minerals most lacking.
3. Iodine in food supply of “Great Basin.”
4. Meeting the iodine shortage.
5. Teeth as an index of correct feeding especially of mineral supply.
6. the mother’s responsibility to the unborn babe and the child of tender years.

V. Acid-alkaline body reactions.

1. Definition of acid food; alkali or base forming.
2. Foods which are acid forming.
3. Foods with a base forming residue.
4. Danger from eating too many foods from either class.
5. Acid tasting fruits not always acid forming: citrus fruits basic in residue.
6. The danger of acidosis from an unbalanced diet.
7. Aklalosis must also be avoided.

VI. Intelligence in Food Selection.

1. Devitalized foods for commercial gain often acid forming.
2. Foods grown by mother nature are best for all round healthful diet.


I. Fruits and Vegetables as Food.

1. Definition of “herb” as used a century ago.
2. Contain all necessary food groups.
3. Composition depends upon nature of plant and upon composition of soil and method of cultivation.
4. Composition of vegetables.
5. Composition of fruits.

II. The Provident Earth.

1. Each edible fruit and vegetable contains some necessary elements.
2. Man’s body uses these substances as bricks in a wall.
3. All varieties and classes of food are necessary for complete well-being.
4. Children should learn to like all kinds of good food.
5. Parents must set the example; exclude no good food. All fill some body need.

III. Food Customs Developed.

1. Cereals and grains vegetables and fruit should form the bulk of man’s dietary.
2. Vegetables and fruits from other countries are desirable for variety.
3. Rutabagas, kohl rabi, avocados, and many other little used vegetables are valuable.
4. Lack of variety and quantity of fresh foods a contributory cause of many plagues of the past.

IV. Cooking of Vegetables.

1. Minerals are soluble in water, hence vegetables should not be peeled and soaked.
2. Cooked the waterless way; or else all vegetable water used in soups or sauces.
3. No salt used until nearly done.
4. Uncooked salad vegetables for daily use.
5. Description of well cooked vegetables.

V. Bulk in Food Necessary for Good Nutrition.

1. Roughage or indigestible fibre requisite for bowel health.
2. Fibre must be bland and non-irritating.
3. Should come from natural food.

VI. Fat in the Diet.

1. A concentrated fuel food.
2. Value of fat in dietary.
3. The balance of fat with starch and sugar.
4. Disadvantages of fat in digestion.
5. Danger of fried foods.

VII. Vegetarianism Is Possible.

1. Vegetables contain all food classes, but apt to lead to imperfect nutrition unless milk, eggs and cheese are used wisely therewith.
2. Can maintain life, but not at its best.
3.Great wisdom necessary in choice of food.
4. The best food for hot climates or warm weather.

III. The Word of Wisdom Again Vindicated.


I. Diet Is of Great Importance.

1. Diseases of dietary origin.
2. The story of scurvy, beri-beri, pellagra.
3. Discovery of cause recent.
4. Meaning of “deficiency disease.”

II. Vitamins Are Necessary Food Constituents.

1. Define.
2. Discovery.
3. How named.
4. Where found.
5. Methods of experimentation.

III. Modern Nutrition Developed in Scientific Laboratories.

1. Need to study effect of diet on posterity as well as on the individual.
2. Use of small animals.
3. Similarity between the nutrition and diseases of the human and the white rat.
4. Other animals used.
5. In different countries.

IV. The Function of Vitamins in the Human Diet.

1. General functions: must be present.
2. Specific action: shortage causes illness; absence produces death.
3. As mineralizing agents.
4. Natural vs. devitalized foods.
5. Importance of each; one may not be substituted for another.

V. The Source of All Vitamins.

1. Influence of sunlight in other respects.
2. How vitamins are stored in plants.
3. When and where found in animals.

VI. Vitamin A, Anti-Infective.

1. Fat soluble, may be stored in body.
2. Its definite functions in the body: health of skin and mucous membranes.
3. Effects of shortage.
4. Carotene as persecutor o vitamin A.
5. Sources: green and yellow vegetables and fruits.
6. How retained or destroyed.


I. Vitamin B, for Nerve Health, Good Digestion.

1. Water soluble; not stored in body.
2. Functions in the body; builds nerve health.
3. its great importance in maintaining health of the digestive tract, especially the bowels.
4. Relation to reproduction and mother’s power to nurse young.
5. Foods to be eaten for Vitamin B: especially the germ and parts of grains often discarded.
6. Diseases caused by its lack: upset digestion, neuritis, convulsions, fits and eventually paralysis or beri-beri.
7. Need for its daily intake.

II. Vitamin C, for healthy Connective Tissue.

1. Water soluble, not stored in body.
2. Functions in the body: promotes health of teeth and gums, also for healing of wounds.
3. Found in what foods?
4. Importance in daily diet.
5. Dangers from shortage.
6. Destroyed by heat; some retained if cooked in vacuo.

III. Vitamin D, the “Sunshine Vitamin”; Aids in Bone and Tooth Formation and Health of Nerves.

1. Fat soluble, may be stored in body for short period.
2. Aids mineral metabolism; calcium, phosphorous and other minerals in food, useless unless reinforced with ample vitamin D.
3. Unhurt by cooking or oxidation.
4. Diseases caused by its lack; tooth and bone weakness, rickets, etc.
5. Sunlight and Vitamin D.
6. Sources: fish liver oils, yellow suet, butter, eggs, sunlight.

IV. Vitamin E, for Normal Reproduction.

1. Fat soluble; stored in body; resists moderate heat.
2. Shortage: sterility in males; miscarriage in females.
3. Mother to “eat for two” in vitamin and mineral foods.
4. Sources: grain embryo and other seeds.

V. Vitamin G: For Longevity and Youth Preservation.

1. Water soluble; must be taken daily in some form.
2. Sources: yeast, milk, cheese, eggs, liver, kidney, lean meat.
3. Effect of shortage: unhealthy hair, skin, wrinkles and irritation; early evidences of age; pellagra.
4. Relation to mental powers.


I. Vitamin Content of Different Foods.

1. Those which form the best source of each vitamin in fruits.
2. Those which form the best source of each vitamin in vegetables.
3. The foods which are most deficient in vitamins.
4. Foods which should be eaten in greatest quantity.

II. Effects of Canning and Drying.

1. Regarding vitamin content.
2. Regarding mineral content.
3. Deleterious effect of pressure cooker on vitamin content.
4. Cooking with soda destroys vitamin and affects mineral content.
5. Sun dried foods better than with gas or high heat.
6. When dried or canned food is used, extra vitamin food to be provided.
7. Advertising not always reliable.

III. The Shortage of Vitamin Foods Is Dangerous.

1. Absence of vitamins causes disease and death.
2. Vitamin shortage produces the first symptoms of deficiency diseases.
3. countless people suffer from these first symptoms.
4. Most dangerous because often the cause is not recognized.
5. Foods which contain no vitamins.
6. Foods which are rich in vitamins.
7. Planning the human diet wisely.

IV. Infants’ Food.

1. The right start in life begins with mother before birth of the baby.
2. Mother’s milk best if mother is in health (as she should be.)
3. Infants need of all vitamins and minerals is imperative.
4. Natural foods best if baby must be weaned.

V. Diet for Invalids.

1. Extra care that food for the sick shall supply body needs.
2. Ordinary pasty, white, diet inadequate.
3. Increased need for vitamin and mineral foods.
4. Everything necessary to build resistance.

VI. “In the Season Thereof.”

1. The meaning of verse 11, Doctrine and Covenants, Section 89.
2. Science of nutrition unborn in 1833.
3. Modern nutritional science confirms the Word of Wisdom.
4. The inspiration of a modern Prophet.


I. Grains as “Staff of Life.”

1. Their general use since prehistoric times.
2. Increased use as agriculture improved.
3. Keeping qualities.
4. Economy of use.
5. Source of energy.

II. Composition of Grains.

1. Contain the six classes of food constituents.
2. Proportions differ in different grains.
3. Good source of body minerals.
4. Rich in vitamin content.
5. Protein good but not always the best.

III. Variety of Grains.

1. Different grains used in different countries.
2. Reasons for varying use.
3. Analysis of different grains.

IV. Breakfast Cereals.

1. Whole grain.
2. Highly milled.
3. Why whole grain products are better food.


I. Starch and Sugar.

1. All food carbohydrates are starches or sugars.
2. Starch is made up of simple sugar groups.
3. All food carbohydrates except milk sugar are formed in the vegetable kingdom.

II. Digestion of Starch.

1. Most starch containing foods should be well cooked.
2. In digestion, starch is changed into component simple sugars.
3. Using sugar with starchy food is dietetic duplication.
4. Duplicating sugar and starchy food is a dietetic indiscretion.
5. The liver is the great regulator and storage plant of sugar in the body.
6. Carbohydrate excess stored as fatty tissue in the body.
7. Mixtures of starchy and fat foods difficult to digest.
8. Possible danger from over-eating carbohydrate foo especially when the food budget is limited.

III. Sugar as Food.

1. Use of sugar I past centuries.
2.Ease of manufacture has increased production and consumption.
3. Most highly concentrated food eaten by man.
4. Over use I the United States known as the “sugar gluttons” of the world.
5. As used today sugar is not a natural, but a manufactured product.

IV. Advantages of Sugar as Food.

1. An energy food needed by the body in very small amount as a simple sugar (glucose).
2. Blood contains one part glucose to one thousand.
3. As nature prepares it, often mixed with valuable minerals.
4. Used in natural state by nature people; not so in modern manufacture.
5. Cheap, clean, easy to handle and transport.

V. Disadvantages of Sugar as Food.

1. Too concentrated; causes an acquired taste.
2. Contains no building food (protein), minerals or vitamins.
3. Is distinctly habit-forming.
4. Many dangers from over use: (1) irritates the lining of alimentary canal; (2) tends to cause gas formation; and (3) deadens the appetite for other much needed food.
5. If used too freely the liver and kidneys overworked and affected adversely.
6. Candy as human food – its proper use and dangers.

VI. The Pancreas in Sugar digestion.

1. Active principle is insulin.
2. Necessary to enable tissues to burn (oxidize) sugar brought by blood.
3. When over-worked, diabetes may result.
4. Great increase of diabetes in the United States.

VII. Wisdom in Use of Carbohydrate Food.

1. The Word of Wisdom points the way.
2. Use of natural foods.


I. Whole Wheat Flour.

1. May be ground as fine as desired; coarse or cracked wheat bread not necessary.
2. Contains vitamins B, E, and G, so necessary for health.
3. Civilized diet is most lacking in vitamin B which is found in germ and bran.
4.Rich source of necessary food minerals containing five times or more the amount found in refined white flour.
5. Best food for normal digestion – to keep one in health.
6. If alimentary tract abnormal, vitamins and minerals must be supplied in other ways.

II. Wheat Bran as Natural Fiber.

1. Need of bulk for bowel health.
2. Natural bulk is best.
3. Bran or whole wheat ground fine is non-irritating to the normal alimentary tract.
4. Vitamins B and others necessary for full bowel health and prevention of constipation are in bran and germ.
5. Poor economy to discard all natural fibre and then spend money continuously for oily mixtures, slimy seeds and foreign seaweed for bulk.
6. The experiment on “the Influence of Bran on the Alimentary Tract.”

III. Whole Grain for Children.

1. Their imperative need for foods containing full vitamins and mineral content.
2. Dr. Mary Swartz Rose and others advise its use, ground fine, for children from second year on.
3. All coarse or heavy fibre foods to be avoided for young children.
4. Hot breads and pastries especially harmful.

IV. An Interesting Experiment.

1. May be performed by anyone, with any animal (chickens for example) with similar results.
2. The animals fed refined food lost weight, ate much more food yet were always hungry.
3. Whole-mealers remained sleek and healthy.
4. The right food does not produce fat but produces normal size and weight.

V. Diet of “Nature Peoples.”

1. Dr. McCarrison’s experience in India.
2. Dr. Tipper’s findings in Africa.
3. Such people live long, are robust and fertile.
4. Amongst them, cancer, appendicitis and other so-called diseases of civilization are practically unknown.
5. When they adopt the white man’s diet of refined foods and much meat they too suffer from these diseases.
6. Dr. Quigley’s findings with 2,707 cancer patients.

VI. Natural Foods Are Best.

1. The Word of Wisdom again vindicated.


I. Animal Food Needs Differ.

1. The findings of science on this subject.
2. Grain foods vary in composition.
3. Not equally nourishing to different animals.
4. Experiments of Watson and Hunter.

II. A Wisconsin Experiment Station Experiment.

1. Classic feeding experiment.
2. Corn fed heifers sleek and well fed.
3. Wheat fed heifers poorly nourished.
4. Corn fed heifers produced healthy young.
5. Wheat fed heifers produced young prematurely or not at all.

III. “Corn for the Ox.”

1. Conclusion is definite.
2. Universal experience.
3. “Oats for the Horse,” etc., generally accepted.
4. Knowledge yet to be obtained.

IV. Application to Human Beings.

1. Inadequate feeding affects power of reproduction.
2. May also cause miscarriage.
3. The quality of proteins in different foods.
4. Lack of mineral content in foods a possible cause.
5. The deep responsibility of parents.

V. The Prophet’s Foreknowledge.

1. His pronouncement made three-quarters of a century before the Wisconsin experiment.
2. How dared he proclaim these truths?


I. Protein (or Building Food).

1. Definition.
2. Found in all natural foodstuffs.
3. Proportions vary.
4. Differ in digestibility.
5. Complete proteins.
6. Incomplete proteins.

II. Indispensable for Animal Life.

1. Intensive studies in nutrition laboratories.
2. Indispensable for good nutrition – must be found in food every day.
3. Stunted growth if insufficient.
4. Complete proteins desirable.
5. Certain amino acids necessary for growth.

III. Animal Protein.

1. Foods which are richest in protein.
2. Milk, cheese, eggs most valuable.

a. Contain valuable minerals as well as protein.
b. Do not require taking of life.
c. Also contain vitamins.

3. Value of whey as food.
4. Flesh protein in moderation.

IV. Vegetable Protein.

1. Found in all plant tissue, in variable amounts.
2. Legumes – peas, beans, lentils – are richest source.
3. Grains also contain protein.
4. Not as digestible as animal protein.
5. May sustain life.

V. Vegetarianism.

1. Experiments of Dr. Russel H. Chittenden.
2. Dr. Hindehede’s experiment in Denmark.
3. Best when milk, cheese, eggs, are used liberally.
4. An understanding moderation is the spirit of the Word of Wisdom.


I. Meat as Protein Food.

1. Easily prepared and digested.
2. Appetizing to most people.
3. Permit variety of preparation.

II. Disadvantages of Meats.

1. Temptation to over-eat on meat, with too little supplementary foods containing vitamins and minerals.
2. The products of meat digestion.
3. Effect on liver and kidneys.
4. Predispose to putrefaction in the bowels.
5. Effect on acid-alkaline balance of body.
6. That meat gives excessive strength is fallacious. The opposite is often true.

III. The Protein Requirement.

1. Authorities differ. Some contending for a high, some for a low protein intake.
2. Climate and occupation should govern the amount.
3. From one tenth to one sixth of the food should be protein.
4. Of this amount only 1/3 need be of animal origin, 2/3 may be from grain or vegetable protein.
5. Health requires some protein daily.
6. The American diet is much too high in animal protein.

IV. Children and Meat-Eating.

1. Milk, eggs (and cheese occasionally) best protein for children.
2. Need a higher proportion because of growth.
3. Reliable experts claim children need little meat before eight or nine years old.
4. Protein must be generous from the animal derivative class – milk, eggs, etc.
5. Meat proteins tend to putrefy more easily in the bowels of the young.
6. Children, if allowed meat, often refuse to take their vegetables and other foods needed for vitamins and minerals.

V. The Carnivorous Diet.

1. Muscle meat is deficient in minerals and vitamins.
2. Carnivorous animals drink the blood and eat the entrails first, thereby gain minerals and vitamins.
3. Esquimaux and other human races do likewise, eating their meat raw, usually.
4. The Esquimaux and other meat-eating races are old at thirty and decrepit at forty.

VI. “In Times of Famine and Cold.”

1. Protein can be used as energy food but it is unwise and expensive.
2. Best utilized in cold weather.
3. Confirmed by science: vegetable protein to take the place of meat protein in summer.

VII. Science Confirms the Word of Wisdom.

1. Dr. Mottram’s Statement.
2. Dr. Sherman’s advice.


I. Liquid in the Diet.

1. Drinks to be taken.
2. Meaning of term “hot drinks.”
3. Physiological effect of ice drinks or ice water.

II. Water, the Universal Beverage.

1. The body’s need of water.
2. Two-thirds body weight is water.
3. The average daily amount of liquid needed.
4. Thirst is not always a guide.
5. Excess to be avoided.
6. Shakespeare’s reference to “honest water.”
7. Gough’s poetic description.

III. Vegetable Juices.

1. Good food drinks.
2. Contain vitamins and minerals.
3. A practice to be commended.

IV. Fruit Juice Drinks unfermented.

1. Delicious, healthful – contain minerals and vitamins.
2. Add variety to the menu.
3. Warm drinks for cold weather.
4. Occasional use of carbonated water, but in moderation.

V. Fruit or Vegetable Cocktails.

1. Health cocktails permissible, tho not necessary.
2. Use in wisdom.
3. Fancy names for health drinks.

VI. Grain and Food Drinks.

1. Meaning of the reference in the Word of Wisdom.
2. Grains slightly browned for drinks.
3. “Harvest drinks” are beneficial.
4. Milk as a food not a drink.
5. Milk and egg drinks valuable, if eaten slowly.
6. Fruit juice and eggs valuable at times.


I. Drinks to Be Avoided.

1. All fermented drinks contain alcohol in some proportion.
2. The danger of mild fermented drinks.
3. The cocktail habit a dangerous one.
4. The wise procedure for hostess and guests.
5. Ciders and root beers are good drinks if used fresh.

II. Chemical Flavors and Colors in Drinks.

1. Temptation to use because of cheapness.
2. Grave danger in their use.
3. To be physiologically safe must get rating from Consumers Research or other bureau which will give the truth.
4. Relation between coal tar derivative benzepyrene and cancer.
5. Extreme caution is necessary.

III. Soda Pops.

1. Beware of their use, for reasons already given.
2. Synthetic flavors and colors are often dangerous.
3. Safety only in the use of natural food and drinks.

IV. Review of articles in Era for September.

1. Discuss harmful drinks mentioned.
2. Danger of all caffeine containing drinks.
3. Especially dangerous when mixed with syrup.
4. The evil of the coca-cola and similar habits.
5. Prevention better than cure.


I. Need of Wisdom.

1. In all requirements of life.
2. Especially in health habits.
3. Health advice of our Heavenly Father other than that of Word of Wisdom.

II. Prudence.

1. Define.
2. Need of intelligence.
3. Need of knowledge.
4. Responsibility of parents.
5. Beware of advertisements – use judgment.

III. Thanksgiving.

1. Importance of right mental attitude.
2. Influence of mind over the body.
3. Man is a literal child of his Heavenly Father.
4. Care of body a sacred trust.

IV. Work as a Health Habit.

1. Work is a blessing, not a curse.
2. The idler is a human parasite.
3. Our Heavenly father’s command.
4. Children to be taught early.

V. Recreation and Rest.

1. All work and no play makes everybody “dull.”
2. Body requires sleep or becomes poisoned.
3. Modern man has too little sleep.
4. Children in especial need of sleep.
5. Recreation of body by play is a decided health requirement.
6. Wise division of the twenty-four hours.

VI. Needs of a Sound Religions Philosophy.

1. Aids in adjustment to life’s problems.
2. Anger and other passions detrimental to health.
3. Love is the best health tonic.
4. Prayer as a ladder to source of health.
5. Greater light may come from time to time.


I. A Principle with a Promise.

1. The benefits of obedience thereto.
2. The three promised rewards.
3. Implication of a fourth reward.
4. Proven by the history of the Latter-day Saints.

II. The Measure of the Promised Rewards.

1. Evidence of bodily vigor.
2. Vital statistics gathered in nations and by the Church.
3. Comparison of the birth and death records in the United States and other nations.
4. Comparisons of mental health.

III. Health Protection.

1. Statistics showing deaths from different diseases.
2. Reference to chapter 2.
3. Increase amongst Latter-day Saints of cancer, heart disease.
4. Excessively high mortality from appendicitis in Utah – a warning of faulty nutrition.
5. Dr. Francis W. Kirkham’s study.

IV. Nutrition and Mental Health.

1. Wisdom is more than knowledge.
2. Literacy among the Latter-day Saints.
3. High school and college attendance.
4. The test of leadership.

V. Economic Advantage.

1. The cost of living.
2. High expense as well as bodily harm of all things forbidden in the Word of Wisdom.
3. Home-owners in the majority.
4. A cure for the world’s economic ills.

VI. The Word of Wisdom and Morality.

1. A man of knowledge vs. one who is wise.
2. The marriage and the divorce rate.
3. The records of illegitimacy.
4. The criminal record.
5. Crime seldom accompanies full mental and physical health.

VII. Spiritual Rewards.

1. The greatest of all.
2. Obedience, the beginning of wisdom.
3. A pure spirit connotes clean mind and body.
4. A new wealth of joy.
5. God’s promises fail not.


I. Summary of the Word of Wisdom.

1. Eight rules.
2. Their operation for man’s welfare.
3. The importance of observing the do’s of the Word of Wisdom as well as the don’ts.

II. Supplementary Factors of Health.

1. The five factors of physical fitness.
2. Importance of mental health.
3. Spiritual health often depends on physical and mental factors and is most important of all.
4. Each must be obeyed to give full health.

III. The World Needs These Truths.

1. Too much ill health in evidence everywhere.
2. Too many broken homes; their cause and cure.
3. Our Heavenly Father designs health for His earth children.

IV. Diet as Health Factor for Prosperity.

1. Wrong diet of mother affects children.
2. Modern diet too refined and foods are devitalized.
3. Affects longevity.
4. Grandparents may live to be 80 or 90 years old; but children and grandchildren often die in early maturity or youth.
5. All should so live to give health and long life to posterity.

V. Problems of the Day Solved.

1. Economic benefits of this law.
2. Health will be increased.
3. Encourage use of vacant lots for gardens.
4. Decrease of illness, insanity, crime.

VI. Self-Conquest the Greatest Victory.

1. Obedience to the positive side of the Word of Wisdom gives strength to obey the negative requirements.
2. Wisdom and the gift of “hidden treasure of knowledge” the greatest benefactions.

VII. Inspiration of the Word of Wisdom.

1. In the days of Joseph Smith the science of nutrition was unborn.
2. Proof of the Prophet’s divine inspiration.
3. Greatest gifts of peace and security possible through obedience to the Word of Wisdom.
4. A gift to the world.


To the Leader:

For this final period review any lesson or lessons you may have gone over too hurriedly. Or, invite someone, a doctor or nurse or other capable person, to give a lecture on any desired subject pertaining to health.



  1. VII I f. “The higher centers of the brain are numbered…”? Surely they are numbed

    Comment by Eric Boysen — October 7, 2009 @ 6:52 am

  2. XII V 4. Chemurgy is the science of industrial uses for agricultural products.

    XVIII V 4. Vitamin G may be another name for Riboflavin (B2). That’s where wikipedia sent me when I looked for it although the article never mentioned “G,” but the association with pellagra does make sense.

    Comment by Eric Boysen — October 7, 2009 @ 7:32 am

  3. II III b. “The tyranny of our appetites must be overcome.” Noooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!

    [Just found you caught in another filter, Steve. There must be an Akismet rule against too many o’s, or something! – AEP]

    Comment by Steve C. — October 7, 2009 @ 7:34 am

  4. X II [Tobacco] As a Racial Poison.


    that’s an…interesting…choice of words.

    Comment by Phouchg — October 7, 2009 @ 8:16 am

  5. Whoa.

    Comment by bfwebster — October 7, 2009 @ 8:29 am

  6. Vocabulary seems to be the order of the day:

    Thanks, Eric, especially for the Vitamin G — that stumped me while I was typing, and sent me googling, too. (I’ve fixed the typo, too.)

    Yes, Phouchg, and your point is … ? The use of the word seems fully explained by subpoints referring to reproduction, i.e., to the perpetuation of the human race, and tobacco’s damaging effects there (alcohol is similarly described as a racial poison in VII, IV).

    Overwhelmed, are you, bruce? :)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 7, 2009 @ 8:56 am

  7. While it does seem a bit “overkill” having a whole year devoted to WofW, it really does fit given the Church’s emphasis on the WofW in the 1920s and 1930s. In my research of this period I’ve come across numerous missionary lessons and comments on the WofW.

    Comment by Steve C. — October 7, 2009 @ 9:15 am

  8. BTW: I am reading over this again while finishing a chocolate bar. :-)

    Comment by Steve C. — October 7, 2009 @ 9:15 am

  9. Kate Holbrook has done some great work on the Widtsoes and the Word of Wisdom.

    I’m impressed with the level of progressive education. Though now, I think we expect to learn of such things in our health classes at school.

    I imagine that there were a few that were happy to get Priesthood and Church Government for the next couple of years though.

    Comment by J. Stapley — October 7, 2009 @ 9:35 am

  10. I can’t think of a more boring way to spend a year in Priesthood meeting. I wonder what inspired this study topic. Was there a serious problem the church as a whole was battling? If so did the year’s study produce results?

    Comment by Steve G. — October 7, 2009 @ 9:37 am

  11. I began to doze off as I read through this and went and indulged the coca-cola habit. How refreshing! :-)

    Frankly, I’m surprised that an entire year was given over to this topic. But it may help explain why someone who grew up in that era (I think it was Monroe McKay) once described church as one long cycle of “keep the word of wisdom, pay your tithing and Lookout! they’re coming to get us again.”

    Comment by Mark B. — October 7, 2009 @ 9:41 am

  12. I remember a day spent in the chilly basement of Magleby Mortuary in Richfield, Utah, extracting records of burials in nearby Piute County, and being startled by the number of young people in their teens and 20s who died of appendicitis/peritonitis. I thought it was simply an indicator of more primitive medical times, and had no idea until I read XXX, III, 4, “Excessively high mortality from appendicitis in Utah – a warning of faulty nutrition” that it wasn’t just the date, but also the state.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 7, 2009 @ 9:58 am

  13. THis isn’t a course on the WoW so much as a course on good health. Even Lesson 30 fails to mention the spiritual blessings of the WoW, the destroying angel passing by, etc. Everything is exclusively health benefits.

    Re#10, I think the course may have been prompted by H.J. Grant elevating the WoW from a voluntary choice to commandment status. (Alluded to in Lesson 3, part 3e) Sometime during this period, it became a requirement for a temple recommend, (which was a stumbling block for many, including J. Golden Kimball and other church leaders.)

    Long term, I think this effort has led Church members to rate WoW violations far more seriously than the Lord does.

    As far as the actual material, I think it sounds quite interesting, and was impressed with the level of medical knowledge displayed (Nicotine and coal tar called out, Caffeine and artificial flavors, etc.) Also that caffineated beverage (“the coca-cola”), chocolate, and other items were deemed just as off-limits as tobacco and alchohol. I also found the remarks on meat vs. vegetarianism enlightening.

    I thought the “Corn for the Ox” section was great, because a similar “rye for the fowl” experiment proved birds find rye indigestible!

    Bottom line: I like this course. I think that the Church today could benefit from something similar, especially the latter lessons on the positive aspects of the WoW, although such a course would probalby be aimed at Relief Society. It would be a welcome break to study fresh material.

    Comment by Clark — October 7, 2009 @ 11:10 am

  14. A whole year? Actually, considering what I ate so far today, and the second diet coke of the morning, I might benefit from this.

    Thought this phrase was interesting:

    The danger of preservatives in food is serious.

    Double edged sword, as the lack of preservatives can also be a problem. However, the wisdom of this particular statement becomes obvious when one looks critically at a Twinkie.

    Also, saw this topic in one of the lessons:

    The mineral lack of Utah soils

    I think we’ll skip that one in 49 other states, although (tongue firmly in cheek), it might help explain what we see in the readers comments in the SL Tribune.

    Comment by kevinf — October 7, 2009 @ 11:21 am

  15. Long term, I think this effort has led Church members to rate WoW violations far more seriously than the Lord does.

    This may in fact be true, but I’m not quite that confident that I understand the mind of the Lord on the Word of Wisdom or a whole lot of other matters.

    Comment by Mark B. — October 7, 2009 @ 12:11 pm

  16. RE #10: I think a priesthood lesson on home teaching is slightly more boring than one of the WofW.

    I get the impression that during the 1920s and 1930s HJG pushed a strict adherence to the WofW including soft drinks. As a result, many members who joined during that time have those same attitudes. While I might be generalizing some, on my mission in Germany there was a strict interpretation of the WofW including soft drinks and even ice cold beverages. My theory is that since there were many convert baptisms in Germany during the 1920s and into the 1930s (though down from the 1920s) which coincided with HJG’s emphasis on a strict observance of the WofW, that these attitudes took hold and have remained ever since.

    Comment by Steve C. — October 7, 2009 @ 12:46 pm

  17. Hey Steve C. I served in Germany as well. I know a lot of elders struggled with the mission rule of not drinking coke in public. It was not a problem for me, since I don’t like Cola and couldn’t get a Dr Pepper in Germany regardless of my vain searching.

    I was raised in South Eastern ID where there were 2 types of Mormon, Pepsi drinkers and non-Pepsi drinkers. My family was of the latter persuasion, though later in life we relaxed the standard after my mom was ordered by her doctor to start drinking coke after her gall bladder was removed to help with digestive issues.

    A friend who served in Brazil told me the Mission President directed them to drink a Coke a week to kill off parasites. I always thought that was funny, since it was the opposite of my mission rules.

    Comment by Steve G. — October 7, 2009 @ 1:12 pm

  18. If the Church leaders had to pick a single topic like this nowadays for a year’s worth of lessons, I wonder which subject they’d choose?!

    Comment by Alison — October 7, 2009 @ 2:05 pm

  19. Steve G: We didn’t have the no Coke rule, but my mission president told us to be very cautious and prudent about drinking a Coke.

    My wife and I laugh that there are two types of Mormons–Caffinated and Decaf.

    BTW: Right before I got off my mission in 1986, we went into a store that had Dr. Pepper. Brand new to Germany. :-)

    Alison: I don’t know what they would pick. I could think of quite a few topics. But if I were to pick one, I think it might be pronography. Then again, I don’t think you could get a years worth of lessons out of that and it might make people too uncomfortable. But you do hear a lot about it in General Conferences.

    Comment by Steve C. — October 7, 2009 @ 2:16 pm

  20. The full year is the kicker. i hate it when my ward focuses on a topic for a whole month in Sacrament Meeting, because the talks become repetitive. 3 speakers for 3-4 weeks = 9-12 talks on the same topic. I hope this yearly focus on a single topic never makes a comeback.

    Comment by Steve G. — October 7, 2009 @ 2:21 pm

  21. They could probably put together a year’s course based on the Articles of Faith.

    I think a good one would be the Plan of Salvation (or “happiness,” if we really have to call it that), that outlined just what we know and do not know about the premortal existence, the Millenium and events preceding it, and post-mortal life. So many folk beliefs have been imported from evangelicalism and pop movements (some by us, some by others), that we can’t root them out by occasional lessons on those themes — people who believe those philosophies of men just keep on believing, perhaps assuming that a particular lesson just wasn’t broad enough to cover the whole field. I like to see a course that rooted out those false philosophies, calling them out and disposing of them.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 7, 2009 @ 2:33 pm

  22. Steve G., the repetitiveness on Sacrament Meeting themes is because everybody insists on speaking solely to the broad theme, searching the same keywords on and reading the same talks, instead of picking some facet of the theme and personalizing it. Whether the Word of Wisdom was a good choice for a year’s course or not, you’ll see that every lesson was different — they didn’t just say “don’t smoke or drink” every week for a year!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 7, 2009 @ 2:36 pm

  23. Coke drinkers? Here?! Ardis, I thought yours was a TBM blog…

    Just kidding. Personally, I don’t think the WoW is such a big deal, other than demonstrating obedience. It seems whatever health benefits we Mormons get from it we compensate for by eating ice cream. I assume a zombie-like state every time the topic comes up at church (I’m spiritually shallow).

    I may also hold a personal grudge. In my teens I’d drink an occasional coke (coke tastes good!) A non-LDS friend called me on it “hey, I didn’t think Mormons drank coke”. I patiently corrected him and tried to explain the WoW. “Hot drinks are coffee and tea? Sounds like caffeine. Means you shouldn’t be drinking Coke, either, and you know it.” Boy was that annoying, but I quit drinking Coke. And I’m still not happy about it.

    Comment by Martin — October 7, 2009 @ 2:55 pm

  24. Oh, and I’d love to take Ardis’ Plan of Salvation course as described in #21!

    Comment by Martin — October 7, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

  25. I have a quick anecdote about caffeinated drinks. I remember my dad went away to a conference for a summer and when he came back he confessed to us all that he made a mistake and drank something without reading the label and only later realized his mistake. My young mind was sure he’d partaken of alcohol, since he seemed so sincerely sorry he’d done it. It became so ingrained into my and my siblings’ minds that whenever we’d see advertisements for the beverage on the television we’d rediscuss the onetime sin of our father figure. Imagine my surprise as a college student when I discovered Mellow Yellow was not an alcoholic beverage and actually sat alongside the other soft drinks in the store aisle.

    Comment by Steve G. — October 7, 2009 @ 3:37 pm

  26. What about an entire year’s course on something central to our faith, such as, say, the atonement of Christ?

    Comment by Mark B. — October 7, 2009 @ 4:03 pm

  27. I’m guessing that this is somehow connected to Pres Grant’s indignation at the Utah Legislature voting to repeal Prohibition in 1933 (in fact, the deciding vote) against his lobbying.

    It may have taken the Widtsoe’s a handful of years to do the research and put together the manual, but the timing indicates at least a correlation (I know, bad pun) to me.

    Comment by Chad Too — October 7, 2009 @ 4:40 pm

  28. The Widtsoes needed no external prodding to write this manual.

    Comment by J. Stapley — October 7, 2009 @ 6:45 pm

  29. A year’s worth of lessons on a single topic? Happens in Primary all the time. Every year. Like this year’s topic “My Eternal Family.”

    Y’all should visit Primary sometime. 😉

    Comment by Coffinberry — October 7, 2009 @ 8:19 pm

  30. Great info. I’ve always thought we only taught a small part of WofW, judging by the average girth of the members of my HP quorum.

    Comment by Ron — October 8, 2009 @ 5:46 am

  31. Hi Ardis….

    My understanding based on my family history and my study on the WOW is that there was a 2 generation struggle with the word of wisdom that started with HJG and ended in the late 60’s. HJG had a real struggle with the members and even members of the Q12 over the WOW. There is a funny story in his Autobiography were he was traveling in rural Mormondom and was staying with the local SP’s family. He gave a blistering sermon on the WOW on Sunday morning and was offered coffee by the Sp’s wife at lunch that afternoon.

    for example all of my Ggrandfathers were active LDS who smoked and drank who went inactive when HJG made WOW observance a requirement for a TR.

    This dynamic played out in various ways church wide in the Great Basin during the 20’s-60’s

    So with the WOW struggle in context its easy to see how a year could be filled with WOW lessons

    Comment by bbell — October 8, 2009 @ 10:21 am

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.
TrackBack URI