D&C 89:1-4 “I Have Warned You”
Ask yourself, “What would my life be like if the Lord had not revealed the Word of Wisdom?” and “What does it mean to me to obey the Word of Wisdom?” After considering your answers, note:
- Verse 2 states that this revelation was not given “by commandment,” but it is “the order and will of God.”
- Verse 2 also indicates that this revelation is for the “temporal salvation of all saints in the last days.” One definition of temporal is “physical,” but can you also think of ways in which the Word of Wisdom blesses us spiritually?
- Verse 3 says this revelation is within “the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints.” Understanding that some have developed addictions, we can still consider that anyone who desires to live this law can do so (some may need time and assistance, including professional help).
- According to verse 4, what are some of the additional reasons the Lord gave this revelation?
In the Church, total abstinence of the forbidden substances was seldom preached or practiced in the first 30 years after this revelation, primarily due to pre-existing addictions and the fact that some prohibited items were used for medicinal purposes. Then, as more effective medicinal alternatives became available, and as the older generations gave way to new ones, Church leaders encouraged increasingly strict obedience. In 1882 the Lord revealed to President John Taylor that it was to be a commandment to the Church, and in 1883, the Twelve Apostles resolved to live it completely. In 1908, leadership callings were restricted to those who observed the Word of Wisdom, and beginning in 1913, only those who lived it were called on missions. Finally, in 1919, President Heber J. Grant made obedience to the Word of Wisdom a requirement for entering the temple.
D&C 89:5-17 “For the Use of Man”
Of course it is not reasonable to expect that the Lord’s leaders should publish lists of all things that could potentially be harmful to our bodies and our spirits, so it is important for us to individually recognize principles in this revelation (and in other reliable sources), and do our best to follow them. In verses 5-9 the Lord does specifically warn against “wine or [other alcoholic] strong drink,” “tobacco,” and “hot drinks.” Hyrum Smith, brother of the Prophet and ordained apostle and member of the First Presidency, taught that “hot drinks” in this revelation refers to coffee and tea (see Times and Seasons, 1 June 1842, volume 3, p. 800).
List the beneficial foods and their applications, as revealed in verses 8, 10-17. We are stewards over our own bodies, and should learn which foods, substances, and behaviors are harmful or beneficial for us.
D&C 89:18-21 Promised Blessings
Do you feel that you have been blessed in any of the ways described in these verses? How could the temple endowment relate to verse 19? Elder John A. Widtsoe of the Quorum of the Twelve taught that there are four great blessings we may receive for obedience to the Word of Wisdom: Self-control, strength of body, clearness of mind, and spiritual power (see Program of the Church, pp. 39–40.)
D&C 90:1-16 “The Oracles of God”
- What do you learn from verses 2-3 about the priesthood keys given to Joseph Smith? What do verses 4-5 teach about the “oracles” we receive through prophets? (footnote 4a specifies that “oracles” means “revelations from the Lord”).
- Note the powerful prophecies in verses 7-11, which grow out of the prophets’ exercise of priesthood keys.
- What other works did the Lord teach Joseph Smith about, in verses 12-16?
D&C 90:17-18, 24 Warnings and Promises
We should apply in our own lives the counsel the Lord gave in these verses to the First Presidency:
- Verse 17: “Be admonished in all your high-mindedness and pride, for it bringeth a snare upon your souls.” All of us—including those called to positions of leadership—have imperfections and must recognize and strive to eliminate pride and its consequences.
- Verse 18: “Keep slothfulness and uncleanness far from you.” Ask yourself what you may do to further distance yourself from these two sins.
- Verse 24: Note the great promise the Lord gives to those who exercise faith by study, prayer, and obedience.
D&C 90:28-31 Vienna Jaques
There are only two women mentioned by name in the Doctrine and Covenant; Emma Smith (D&C 25; 132:51-56) and Vienna Jaques. Vienna joined the Church in 1831, at age 44. She donated a large sum of money for the building of the Kirtland Temple and other Church needs. She was a faithful latter-day saint throughout her life and died in Salt Lake City in 1884, at age 96. Look for things in these verses that show how the Lord felt about Vienna.
D&C 90:36-37 Zion
The establishment of Zion in Jackson County, Missouri did not go well for the saints, but in these verses the Lord declares the potential future of Zion. In particular, He states that Zion “shall not be removed out of her place.” Although we do not know the details of the unfolding of Zion’s future, we do know that the Lord’s designation of its location has not changed.
D&C 91 The Apocrypha
As Joseph Smith continued working on his inspired corrections to the Bible, he came upon a set of ancient writings that are not found in our current King James Version of the Bible, known as “the Apocrypha.” This word comes from Greek and means “to hide” or “hidden.” There are a dozen or so Apocryphal books, and they mostly fit between the end of the Old Testament (about 450 bc) and the beginning of the New Testament. The Apocrypha remains part of the Catholic Bible and several other Bibles. (See also “Apocrypha” in the LDS Bible Dictionary.)
Joseph Smith asked the Lord if he should include the Apocrypha in his translation of the Bible, and Section 91 is the answer. What do verses 1-2 say about the reliability of the books of the Apocrypha? According to verses 4-6, how can we best learn from the Apocrypha, as well as from anything else we may choose to study?
D&C 92 “Be a Lively Member”
In this revelation, Joseph Smith’s counselor Frederick G. Williams is called upon to be a “lively member” of the United Order, which was organized to help Church members live the law of consecration. Brother Williams was indeed a lively member; he consecrated his large farm, served as Joseph’s counselor and scribe, and published the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants and the first LDS hymn book. Many of his descendants continue in the Church today.
In verse 1 the Lord says, “What I say unto one I say unto all.” How can you be more “lively” in your Church calling and other roles as you strive to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? What blessing does the Lord promise in verse 2?