Brigham Young's Word of Wisdom Legacy
[2004 Mormon Historical Association Winner for Best Article]
Until the 1870s, Brigham Young exhorted the Saints to strive to obey the Word of Wisdom while he was Church president. The older generation's ingrained personal habits made it very difficult for them to accept a stricter interpretation of the Word of Wisdom. Although Pres. Young spoke strongly against infractions of the Word of Wisdom, discipline seems to only have been exacted for repeated public and disorderly drunkenness. Although the Saints made little progress in observing the Word of Wisdom during Brigham Young's era, by the time of his death their understanding of the revelation had moved from moderate use of proscribed substances to complete abstinence. In the 1870s, most of the preaching and teaching of the Word of Wisdom was directed toward the youth.
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