Many people know that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have “rules” about what they should and shouldn’t do. It is true that Latter-day Saints abide by a code of health called the Word of Wisdom. But rather than thinking of the Word of Wisdom as simply a set of rules or a list of do’s and don’ts, Latter-day Saints view the Word of Wisdom as a revelation from God that gives His counsel on how to live a healthy life.
The Prophet Joseph Smith received the Word of Wisdom as a revelation from God in 1833. Today, the Word of Wisdom is recorded in a book of scripture called the Doctrine and Covenants (see D&C 89, section heading). Latter-day Saints consider it a privilege as well as a responsibility to follow the Word of Wisdom and are grateful for the blessings of health and strength that come as they live by its counsel.
Do Latter-day Saints drink alcohol, tea, and coffee?
In the Word of Wisdom, the Lord commands Latter-day Saints to abstain from harmful substances. Latter-day Saints are taught not to drink any kind of alcohol (see D&C 89:5–7). They are also taught not to drink “hot drinks,” meaning coffee or any tea other than herbal tea (see D&C 89:9), and not to use tobacco (see D&C 89:8). Latter-day prophets have also taught that Latter-day Saints should abstain from using illegal drugs and abusing legal drugs (see For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], 26).
What can Latter-day Saints eat and drink?
In addition to giving instruction on what not to partake of, the Word of Wisdom gives wise counsel about things that are good for our bodies. In the Word of Wisdom, the Lord states that fruits and vegetables should be partaken of with “prudence and thanksgiving” (D&C 89:10-11). He also instructs Latter-day Saints that meat is “ordained for the use of man,” and should be eaten “sparingly” (D&C 89:12), and that grain such as wheat “is good for the food of man” (D&C 89:16). Latter-day Saints also believe that in addition to taking care of our bodies with healthy food, we should also care for ourselves by exercising and getting enough sleep (see D&C 88:124; see also For the Strength of Youth, 27).
To the Saints who keep the Word of Wisdom and obey the commandments, the Lord has promised “health in their navel and marrow to their bones,” “wisdom and great treasures of knowledge,” and the ability to “run and not be weary, and . . . walk and not faint” (D&C 89:18–20). Latter-day Saints believe that obeying the Word of Wisdom is a small price to pay for these beautiful blessings.
How can I learn more?
The Word of Wisdom is not meant to be simply a list of rules or a list of things that are forbidden for Latter-day Saints to eat and drink. Rather, Latter-day Saints believe the Word of Wisdom is a gift. It is a sacred revelation from a Heavenly Father who wants His children to be healthy and happy. To learn more about modern revelation from God, visit comeuntochrist.org.