Doctrine & Covenants/Church History
Lesson 22
The Word of Wisdom: “A Principle with Promise”

Lesson Highlights

A study of this lesson will encourage us to obey the counsel in the Word of Wisdom, as well as the Lord’s other counsel about physical health.

Scripture references for study:  D&C 89; 49:19–21; 59:15–21; 88:124; Our Heritage, pages 25–26
    Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at and will open in a new window.

Lesson 22 Handout (PDF)

The Word of Wisdom - Historical Background

In compliance with the command of the Lord in Section 88, the Prophet commenced the School of the Prophets in Kirtland in January 1833.

Brigham Young describes the situation that led to the revelation:

Additional historical information:  The Word of Wisdom at

Photos from my visit to Kirtland in 2010

Newel K Whitney store - the School of the Prophets was held here

Upper room in the N.K. Whitney store where the School of the Prophets was held

Joseph Smith was not the only one teaching a health rule in the 1830's.

"A Word of Wisdom, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion—To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days" (D&C 89:1-2).

The Lord's Counsel About What Is Not Good For The Body



Old Cigarette Ads

It is hard to believe that these ads were once acceptable

When we review the Word of Wisdom as related to harmful substances, the Lord has blessed the Saints with a remarkable revelation that truly speaks to our time. How many ills and problems have the Saints avoided because of obedience to this revelation?

The Lord's Counsel About What Is Good For The Body

As well as those things that are harmful, the Lord has given guidance on those things which are good for the body.

One problem that exists within the Church are those that feel that by doing more than the Lord has commanded, they can attain to greater spirituality. Small factions within the Church set up their own standards for worthiness, and in their anxiety to live the highest laws possible, they impede the Lord's work.


A Principle With Promise

The Word of Wisdom was given as "a principle with promise" (D&C 89:3).

President Heber J. Grant taught that the Word of Wisdom "would solve the economic problems not only of our country but of every other country, if it were obeyed by the people of the world" (CR, Apr 1936)

The Word of Wisdom stands as another witness of the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith. How blessed we are to have the guidance of modern prophets. The Word of Wisdom is the most significant revelation in relation to physical health since the Lord handed down the law of Moses nearly 4,000 years ago. We should consider how we can more fully take care of our bodies and thus be of greater service to the kingdom.

For additional information see Health Practices at and Word of Wisdom at

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Gospel Doctrine Notebook

Record your thoughts on the discussion on the Word of Wisdom. How has compliance with this law blessed your life?

Resources Used In This Lesson

Battle Cry of Freedom by James M. McPherson.

Church History & Modern Revelation, Volume 1, by Joseph Fielding Smith.

CNN website.

Conference Reports (CR).


Improvement Era.

Journal of Discourses (JD).

Sermons & Writings of Bruce R. McConkie edited by Mark L. McConkie.

Studies In Scripture, Volume 1, edited by Robert L. Millet and Kent P. Jackson.

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Changes last made on:  03 April 2017