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At what date did the LDS church begin teaching the Word of Wisdom? What circumstances led to the introduction of the Word of Wisdom and what publications cover that period of time in LDS church history? How did the members of that time period receive the teaching?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

In January 1833, a group called the "School of the Prophets" began meeting in a small second-story room in the Newel K. Whitney store in Kirtland, Ohio. Brigham Young reported later that Joseph Smith felt that there was something wrong with teaching of elevated truths in a thick cloud of tobacco smoke, and his wife Emma couldn't get the floor adequately clean from tobacco spittings. He apparently felt strongly enough to make it a matter of prayer, and the Word of Wisdom was written on February 27, 1833. It was then presented as divine counsel, not a binding commandment. It was first published as Section 89 of the the "Doctrine and Covenants, of the Church of the Latter Day Saints" in 1835 as and its observance thereafter was strongly encouraged but not considered obligatory until about 1921. The linked article on the Word of Wisdom on the Church History section of LDS Church web site refers to original documents.

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That's an awesome source you cited; haven't seen that before! Thanks. – Matt Mar 10 '14 at 22:46

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