The Word of Wisdom: A Modern Interpretation – Widtsoe

From Books in Word of Wisdom Literature by Jane Birch

See also: “Discovering the Word of Wisdom Pioneers: Elder John A. Widtsoe and Leah Widtsoe” and “Discovering the Word of Wisdom Pioneers: The Widtsoes on Meat”

Widstoe 1937 Edition

THE

WORD OF WISDOM

A MODERN INTERPRETATION

BY

JOHN A. WIDTSOE

AND

LEAH D. WIDTSOE

 

Published by

DESERET BOOK COMPANY

1937


Copyright 1937

By

JOHN A. WIDTSOE

and

LEAH D. WIDTSOE

THE DESERET NEWS PRESS

Printed in the United States of America


TO

PRESIDENT HEBER J. GRANT

Life-long observer, defender and 

expounder of the 

WORD OF WISDOM

Whose vigor of body and mind at four

score and one years is evidence of the

benefits derived from compliance with

this divinely given code of health

This book is affectionately dedicated.


The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, p. 5

PREFACE

The Word of Wisdom, a code of health dealing primarily with human nutrition, was promulgated as a divine revelation in 1833 by Joseph Smith, the “Mormon” Prophet. It is a part of the religious system of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which declares that the care of the body is a sacred duty; and it has been practiced measurably by members of the Church with very favorable results.

Three objectives have been kept in mind in the preparation of this book. First, to make clear the meaning of the Word of Wisdom in terms of modern knowledge. Second, to show that the learning of the last century confirms the teachings of the Word of Wisdom. Third, to furnish some information for the guidance, through proper nutrition, of those who seek to retain, improve or recover their health.

The Word of Wisdom is not another food fad, of which there have been thousands in the world’s history. It is a simple, rational dietary system conforming to general human experience and to accurate scientific knowledge; and is an important guide to physical welfare. Those who are well should practice the Word of Wisdom as a prevention of disease. Those who are ill should not only practice the Word of Wisdom, but should also seek professional help from the well-trained and reliable physicians of this day. The recent advances in the science of human nutrition are gradually being included in the curricula of medical schools; and the medical profession is aware as never before of the importance of proper nutrition in the maintenance of health and the curing of disease.

More than a generation ago the authors of this book sought out and studied with the world’s leaders in the sciences underlying nutrition, and have been connected at various times since then with the scientific and practical aspects of the subject. Out of this life-long, intimate association with the Word of Wisdom and the sciences back of it have come two main convictions: that this health code promotes human welfare; and that the full accord of the Word of Wisdom with advancing science is a convincing evidence of the divine inspiration of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

The books listed at the end of each chapter offer opportunities for more detailed study of the subjects herein discussed as parts of the Word of Wisdom.

Latter-day Saints and all others would do well to acquaint themselves with the truths, positive and negative, taught and implied in the Word of Wisdom, and to practice its precepts so that disease may be prevented. Thereby they would win the fundamentals of life’s happiness.

Grateful acknowledgment is made of the assistance rendered by many friends in the preparation of this book. Elders Joseph Fielding Smith, Joseph F. Merrill, Charles A. Callis and Albert E. Bowen of the Council of Twelve, and Prof. N. I. Butt and Dr. Vasco M. Tanner of the Brigham Young University, and Richard L. Evans, of the Improvement Era, have read the manuscript and given valuable suggestions. James H. Wallis, Glyn Bennion and Hugo D. E. Peterson have given much assistance in the proof-reading of the book.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Preface [p. 5]

1—The Word of Wisdom  [p. 11]

Introduction—Negative Health Factors— Positive Health Factors—Rewards.

2—Need of Health Information
 [p. 14]

Present Health Conditions—Poor Nutrition as a Cause—Health Among the Latter-day Saints—Why Not Better Latter-day Saint Health?—Cumulative Effects—Economics of Health.

3—”The Order and Will of God”  [p. 24]

Historical—A Law of the Church—A Principle with a Promise—Adapted to the Capacity of the Weak.

4—”Evils and Designs”  [p. 31]

A Word of Warning—The Progress of Fraud— Adulterations—False Advertising—Making Use of Fads—Refined Foods—Conspiring Men with Evils and Designs.

5—Alcohol  [p. 42]

Historical—Consumption of Alcohol—Is Alcohol a Food?—Temperate Use of Alcohol—Alcohol and the
Mental Facilities—Alcohol and Physical Fitness—Alcohol and Disease—Alcohol and Society—Alcohol as a Racial Poison—The Indictment Against Alcohol —An Official Verdict—What to Do?—Wine for the Sacrament—The Word of Wisdom Confirmed.

6—Tobacco  [p. 63]

Historical—Financial Cost—Effects on the Body— Effects on the Mind—Moral and Social Effects—Personal Opinions—Effects on Girls and Women—Tobacco and the Creative Gift—General Conclusions— Curing the Tobacco Habit—Proper Uses of Tobacco —A Word of Warning.

7—Hot Drinks [p. 85]

The Meaning of “Hot Drinks”—Historical—Economics of Hot Drinks—Composition of Coffee and Tea—Effects Upon the Body and Mind—Other Stimulating Beverages—Cocoa and Chocolate—Theophylline—Curing the Caffeine Habit—Avoid “Hot Drinks” —A Common Question.

8—Food Constituents [p. 103]

Positive Instructions—Scientific Confirmation—Necessity of Proof—Functions of Food—The Six Groups of Food Constituents.

9—”Out of the Ground” [p. 110]

“Dust Thou Art”—Composition of the Body—Effect of Soil Upon Plant Composition—Necessary Minerals in Food—Minerals and Body Functions—Minerals and Psychological Attitudes—Shortage of Minerals— Source of Minerals—Daily Supply of Minerals—The Minerals Most Lacking—The Teeth as an Index—Acid and Alkaline Foods.

10—”All Wholesome Herbs”  [p. 126]

Definition of “Herbs”—Composition of Vegetables and Fruits—The Provident Earth—Variety Necessary—Live and Learn—Cooking of Vegetables—Roughage in Vegetables—The Question of Fat—Vegetarianism —The Word of Wisdom Confirmed.

11—”In the Season Thereof” [p. 138]

The Lesson of History—Vitamins—Vitamin A— Vitamin B or Bi—Vitamin C—Vitamin D—Vitamin E—Vitamin G—Vitamin Content of Foods—Canning and Drying—Foods Without Vitamins—Foods Rich in Vitamins—Vitamin Shortage—Food for Infants— Diet for Invalids—A Prophet’s Inspiration.

12—Grains [p. 174]

Use of Grain—Composition of Grains—All Grains are Good Food—Breakfast Cereals—Starch and Sugar in the Diet—Sugar as Food—The Word of Wisdom Confirmed.

13—”Wheat for Man” [p. 184]

Wheat, Man’s Staff of Life—Structure of the Wheat Kernel—Why Wheat is Milled—The Value of White Bread—Hot Breads—The Value of Whole Wheat Bread—An Experiment with Whole Wheat—Diets of “Nature People.”

14—”Corn for the Ox” [p. 199]

Food for Animals—Varying Composition of Food Stuffs—Physiological Effects of Different Rations— Corn for the Ox—Conclusion—Application to Human Beings.

15—”Meat . . . . Sparingly” [p. 206]

Building Foods or “Proteins”—Animal Protein— Vegetable Protein—Meat as Food—How Much Protein is Necessary?—Economy in Meat Eating— Carnivorous Men and Beasts—A Comparison—In Times of Famine and Cold—The Word of Wisdom Confirmed.

16—Healthful Drinks [p. 219]

Definition—Water and Health—Vegetable Juices—
Fruit Juices—The Cocktail Habit—Grain Drinks-
Milk and Egg Drinks—Herb Infusions—Names for Health Drinks—Ciders and Root Beers—Soda Pops— Chemical Flavors and Colorings.

17—”Prudence and Thanksgiving” [p. 229]

Wisdom and Health—Prudence—Thanksgiving— Work—Rest—A Sound Religious Philosophy—The Future and Prudence.

18—Rewards
 [p. 235]

Kinds of Rewards — Vigor of Body — Protection Against Disease—Knowledge and Wisdom—Morality—Spiritual Gains—The Rewards Fail Not.

19—Conclusion [p. 246]

The Word of Wisdom Summarized—Supplementary Rules—Need of the Word of Wisdom—Effect on
Coming Generations—Benefits of the Word of Wisdom—Self Correction—Evidence of Inspiration—Finale.

Index [p. 251]


 ILLUSTRATIONS

  1. Effect of Food on Growth and Health [p. 17]
  2. A Word of Wisdom Resolution of 1834 [p. 24]
  3. Drawings Made at Different Intervals after 
Drinking Beer [p. 48]
  4. Crime and Drunkenness [p. 54]
  5. Alcohol and Traffic Deaths [p. 55]
  6. Effects of Tobacco on Heart Action [p. 71]
  7. Definition of “Hot Drinks” by the Patriarch, 
Hyrum Smith [p. 86]
  8. Effect of Caffeine on the Nervous System [p. 94]
  9. Effect of Caffeine on Heart Action [p. 95]
  10. Influence of Calcium on Growth and Bone Development [p. 117]
  11. Effect of an Inadequate Ration on Reproduction [p. 120]
  12. Effect of an Adequate Ration on Reproduction [p. 121]
  13. Effect of Vitamin A [p. 143]
  14. Effect of Vitamin A [p. 144]
  15. Effect of Vitamin A [p. 145]
  16. Effect of Vitamin B [p. 146]
  17. Effect of Vitamin B [p. 147]
  18. Effect of Vitamin C [p. 152]
  19. Effect of Vitamin C [p. 153]
  20. Vitamin D and Rickets [p. 155]
  21. Effect of Sunlight on Growth [p. 157]
  22. Effect of Vitamin E [p. 159]
  23. Effect of Vitamin G [p. 160]
  24. Effect of Vitamin G [p. 161]
  25. Growth Due to Milk [p. 169]
  26. Excessive Carbohydrates in Diet [p. 178]
  27. Structure of a Wheat Kernel [p. 186]
  28. Wheat Fed Cow with Calf [p. 202]
  29. Corn Fed Cow with Calf [p. 203]
  30. Comparative Death Rates for America and the 
Latter-day Saints [p. 237]

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, p. 11

Chapter 1

THE WORD OF WISDOM

A revelation given through Joseph Smith, the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, February 27, 1833 [fn1] (see chapter 3).

I. Introduction [fn2] (see chapters 2 to 4)

1. 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–

2. 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–

3. Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.

4. Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation–

II. Negative Health Factors (see chapters 5 to 7)

5. That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.

6. And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.

7. And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.

8. And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.

9. And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.

III. Positive Health Factors (see chps 9 to 16)

10. And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man-

11. Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.

12. Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;

13. And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

14. All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;

15. And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.

16. All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground–

17. Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain.

IV. Rewards (see chapters 2 and 18)

18. And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;

19. And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;

20. And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.

21. And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.

Footnotes

1. Doctrine and Covenants Section 89.

2. Division headings I, II, III, IV, ours.


The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, p. 14

Chapter 2

NEED OF HEALTH INFORMATION

“All things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; yea for food and raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.” [fn1]

Present Health Conditions. The preservation of human health has not been forgotten by the scientific explorers of the present day. Now as never before the conditions that determine health and disease are understood. The length of human life has been extended, and information is available for maintaining health while life lasts.

Nevertheless, while science has conquered many a dread disease, the death rates from others are rising. Before them, at present, humanity stands powerless. Infectious diseases are diminishing; chronic or degenerative diseases are increasing. The death rate in infancy is decreasing, but the death rate in later life is increasing. Cancer, heart disease, stomach ulcers, and diabetes are increasing in civilized countries at an alarming rate. The rich and educated are as susceptible as those whose finances demand a low output for food.

AVERAGE DEATH RATES FROM FIVE CAUSES IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PER 100,000 OF POPULATION–1900-1934 [fn2]

1900-04 1910-14 1920-24 1930-34
Typhoid ……………………………….. 26.7 14.0 4.2 1.7
Tuberculosis ………………………… 162.2 127.5 80.5 53.6
Cancer …………………………………. 67.5 86.2 103.6 118.5
Diabetes Mellitus ………………….. 12.2 18.2 21.4 25.5
Diseases of the Heart…………….. 47.4 82.9 207.5 244.5

The preceding table confirms these statements. In the United States of America, from 1900 to 1934, the deaths from typhoid and tuberculosis have been steadily decreasing, while deaths from cancer, diabetes and heart diseases have been as steadily increasing. This is one of the most serious problems confronting the civilized world.

Poor Nutrition as a Cause. This condition is the effect of many causes. One of the most potent is the failure to observe the recent findings of science in the field of nutrition; for as we eat so is the composition of the blood stream, the nature-provided healing agent of the body. The world could with much profit consider its dietary habits and mistakes.

While the science of foods in its relation to health and disease may be said to be in its infancy, yet, in laboratories over the world, it is advancing, and enough truth has been discovered to make everyone conscious of the relation which exists between daily food and the health enjoyed or the ill health that follows broken laws.

Some of the most prominent workers in this field hold that the American diet as a whole, as well as that of most civilized nations today, is not as wholesome as it was two generations ago. Too much of the modern food supply comes from tin cans or packages, for often women as well as men work in factories and offices, and the can opener is coming to be the most used kitchen implement. Certain classes of our so-called civilized people, who in this “machine age” are industrially rather than agriculturally minded, have come to subsist in large measure upon a diet of soft, highly refined and concentrated foods, a diet which is often predominantly acid-forming, lacking in fiber or residue and poor in mineral salts and vitamins. A typical modern diet of meat, white bread, refined cereals, potatoes and sweets, crowding milk, fruits and vegetables to a minimum, is especially likely to be deficient in calcium (and other minerals), roughage and vitamins. The results are unquestionably bad.

Constipation has become a “national complaint”, while colitis, appendicitis, poor bone development and tooth decay and the more serious diseases already mentioned are increasing. Underweight (or overweight), nervous irritability, poor digestion, general weakness and lowered vitality are regarded to be other signs of malnourished tissues which are becoming more frequent due to unbalanced food and other imperfect health habits.

The question is not wholly one of length of life, but one as well of good health while life endures. Undoubtedly, the ill effects to be expected from wrong dietetic habits reduce the joy of living and drive many to the use of artificial, injurious stimulants.

“A report on diets in the Proceedings of the Mayo Clinic (Barborka) of August, 1931, states that ‘the American diet contains a large proportion of concentrated foods low in vitamins, residue and alkaline minerals, and high in carbohydrates and acid minerals. Such a diet lacking certain protective foods, a term applied to milk, eggs and fresh leafy vegetables, conduces to an early advent of degenerative diseases. Not only is this true, but diet each day bears evidence of its immediate influence on the emotions and nature of individuals.'” [fn3]

On the other hand there is some improvement, for the use of more milk, vegetables and fruits is now being encouraged. An increased consumption of citrus fruits is being made possible by improved transportation facilities. Yet there remains too much underweight and illness among children, with overweight, frequent colds and other illnesses among adults. The campaign for good health must not be relaxed.

There is a growing concensus of belief among professional as well as lay members of society that faulty nutrition is a contributing factor in many of the diseases that plague civilization. It has come to be believed that degenerative diseases do not attack healthy tissues. That is, predisposing conditions precede disease. The problem of health then becomes a matter of prevention by keeping the bloodstream, the natural health-provoking agent of the body, of the correct composition. This implies the intake of suitable food as a major factor of health. Reliable observations indicate that the prevention of cancer may possibly be found through a more natural diet, such as is set forth in the Word of Wisdom. Dr. Hindhede, famous nutritionist of Denmark, in a careful study of this subject concludes that:

“The most frequent and dangerous form of cancer, that of the stomach and alimentary canal, may be due to a wrong diet, which irritates the muccus membrane, leads to catarrh and possibly later to cancer . . . the use of vegetables instead of meat, of natural instead of refined food reduces the chances of stomach and intestinal cancer.” [fn4]

It is a notable, well-attested observation that primitive peoples are largely freed from the diseases that trouble civilized man most. These matters are being subjected to the scrutiny of science and as new light comes the prejudices and superstitions of the past will be overcome.

Health Among the Latter-day Saints. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has had since 1833 a health code called the Word of Wisdom, dealing primarily with nutrition. Alcohol, tobacco, tea and coffee are to be eschewed, meat is to be eaten sparingly, and grains, fruits and vegetables are to be used liberally. Many members of the Church have obeyed, in part at least, the injunctions of this health code. Even the partial observance of the Word of Wisdom has affected notably and favorably the comparative health status of the Latter-day Saints, as indicated by the following table.

COMPARATIVE DEATH RATES PER 100,000 (1926-1927)

 Six Nations[fn5]  Latter-day Saints[fn6]
 Tuberculosis……………………………………………………………….  120  9
 Cancer……………………………………………………………………….  119  47
 Diseases of the Nervous System……………………………………  123  52
 Diseases of the Circulatory System (heart)…………………….  196  115
 Diseases of the Respiratory System (pneumonia)…………..  167  105
 Diseases of the Digestive System………………………………….  73  56
 Kidney and Kindred Diseases (Nephritis)……………………..  44  23
 Maternity (per 1,000 births)………………………………………..  45  10

 

It is seen at a glance that the health rating of the Latter-day Saints far exceeds that of the nations listed.

Excellent as it is, it is none too good considering the possibilities of good health offered by the Word of Wisdom. Moreover it must be observed that Latter-day Saint vital statistics indicate danger signals that should be heeded. Deaths from typhoid and tuberculosis have been reduced greatly since 1914, when full vital records were first made by the Church, but the death rate from diabetes has decreased only slightly, and cancer and heart diseases have definitely increased. These statements are confirmed by the data of the following table:

AVERAGE DEATH RATE FROM FIVE CAUSES AMONG THE LATTER-DAY SAINTS, PER 100,000 OF POPULATION– 1914-1934 [fn7]

 1914-16  1924-26  1932-34
 Typhoid ………………………………………..  13.4  6.4  2.2
 Tuberculosis ………………………………….  11.6  9.1  7.0
 Cancer ………………………………………….  31.3  40.9  49.8
 Diabetes Mellitus …………………………..  11.6  9.2  8.2
 Diseases of the Heart ……………………..  82.4  80.6  113.3

Why Not Better Latter-day Saint Health? The environment of the majority of the Latter-day Saints is favorable. Many live in mountain valleys where the climate is invigorating, the water pure, and in the larger centers the care of conscientious medical men and Boards of Health is available. In addition they possess a religion or life philosophy which not only answers the deep questions of life and keeps them spiritually active, but which also tends to make them socially equal and economically secure– all of which make for contentment in life and peace with men and God. Such a condition of mind is always conducive to physical health and well-being. It may be asked, however, why, under such a healthful environment, the percentage of deaths from the diseases enumerated should be even as high as shown in the above table. The answer is obvious: It is evident that the people of the Church are not observing fully all the factors of health as given in the Word of Wisdom, else they would have an even greater immunity from all diseases.

Since the diseases which take most lives among the Latter-day Saints have distinct nutritional relationships, it is safe to conclude that the dietary life habits of the people are at least partly at fault. One can not say that to refrain from smoking and from drinking tea, coffee or alcohol is to keep fully the Word of Wisdom. That is a big step toward maintaining health but it is not full obedience to the law. The many “do’s” in the inspired document are as important as the “don’t’s”. Unquestionably, the Word of Wisdom is not lived completely or the people would receive a greater fullness of the promised reward– a long life of physical health, while the destroying angel of sickness and death would pass by and not slay them.

Cumulative Effects. It must not be overlooked that the mistakes of living have a cumulative effect. Daily errors may not be noticed at the time they are committed but they finally break down the resistance of the body and allow disease to take possession. The errors of youth must often be paid for in later years. Therefore, those who have disobeyed the laws of health in childhood and youth, whether ignorantly or wilfully, must seek with redoubled care, to preserve their health during maturity. Likewise, to make most certain of a joyous life, obedience to the laws of health must begin in the earliest years and continue throughout life. Men may break the laws of health for years yet seem to feel no ill effects, but sooner or later the penalty must be paid by them and too often by their progeny. Nature has no favorites.

It is understood that human appetites are tyrants and difficult to vanquish. That to which the taste is accustomed creates an imperative desire. Therefore, many fail to observe any substantial portion of the Word of Wisdom, and others observe it only in part. There can be no progress except as the will is directed towards obedience to law. The results already attained, as shown in the preceding table, and in chapter 18, indicate that greater health may be secured by observing this divine law.

Economics of Health. The economic side of this problem must also be kept in view. Men in indifferent health cannot work as efficiently as those who are in full possession of their powers. The equivalent of billions of dollars is lost annually because men and women are not able to work or to do their work well. When the loss to the country from every premature death is added, the total is increased greatly. Aside from such losses, the actual cost of caring for the sick is enormous. The Committee on the Costs of Medical Care in 1932 reports that the United States spent in that year $3,600,000,000 for medical and dental care, more than was spent for recreation or education. fn

To these losses must be added the actual waste of money, running into billions of dollars, when things injurious to the body such as alcohol, tobacco, coffee and tea are bought. Add together the monetary equivalent of the loss of man power due to ill health and premature death, the cost of caring for the sick, and the money wasted for substances not only useless but injurious to the body, and a staggering total is reached. The national debt could be wiped off quickly if the laws of health were fully understood and obeyed. This economic phase of the Word of Wisdom has been repeatedly stated by President Grant in public and private addresses. For example:

“I believe that if every dollar of money that is expended in Utah for liquor and for beer, tea, coffee and tobacco, were saved, Utah would need no help from the United States government to take care of the poor, but that peace, prosperity, happiness and abundance would be given to the people of our fair state, and of every other state in the Union. If in addition we observed the suggestion by the Lord, which is a very wise one, that once a month we refrain from eating two meals, which would be physically beneficial to every living soul, and give the equivalent to help those who are poor it would go far towards solving our financial problems.” [fn9]

A close and careful study of the Word of Wisdom in the light of the modern knowledge of nutrition– really the study of health maintenance and resistance to disease– is of prime importance, and should engage the thoughtful attention of all people, especially of those responsible in the home for the food supply. Knowledge and the use of knowledge give health and power.

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

Dublin and Lotka, Length of Life, 1936.

Fisher, I., and Fisk, E. L., How to Live, 1931.

Lane, Sir W. A., The Prevention of Diseases Peculiar to Civilization, 1929.

Lane, Sir W. A., Blazing the Health Trail, 1929.

Lane, Sir W. A., Secrets of Good Health, 1928.

League of Nations, International Health Year Book, 1928.

Nethersole, O., The Importance of Diet in Relation to Health, 1926.

U. S. Health Service Publications.

Footnotes

1. Doctrine and Covenants 59:18, 19.

2. Based upon the reports of the Bureau of the Census, for the registration states of 1900.

3. Ullmann, E. V., Diet in Sinus Infections and Colds, 1934, p. 15.

4. Hindhede M., Kraeft og Diaet, II, 1936, p. 35.

5. Germany, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Great Britain, United States, from International Health Year Book, League of Nations, 1929.

6. Gathered by the Presiding Bishopric of the Church.

7. Compiled from records in the office of the Presiding Bishopric.

8. Fortune, October, 1936, p. 221.

9. General Conference Report, October, 1935, p. 9.


The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, p. 24

Chapter 3

“THE ORDER AND WILL OF GOD”

“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– given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.” [fn1]

Historical. The revelation known as the Word of Wisdom was received by the Prophet Joseph Smith on February 27, 1833, when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was not quite three years old. The young Prophet had received revelations from time to time, as occasion demanded, for the building and guidance of the Church that he had been commissioned to restore.

According to the custom of the day, a number of the early converts to the Church were users of tobacco. In fact, several who had been called into the higher councils of the Church had the tobacco habit. Some were accustomed also to the use of alcoholic beverages, chiefly such as were brewed by the people of the “pioneer fringe”. There was little or no drunkenness. Coffee and tea were favorite family drinks when they could be secured. In the use of alcohol, tobacco, tea and coffee the early Church members were much like their pioneer neighbors, perhaps more temperate.

These habits did not seem to the Prophet to comport with the sacred nature of the work entrusted to and accepted by the Church. Especially did it seem out of keeping with the spirit of the occasion to have the odor of tobacco in the council rooms of the Priesthood. This was aggravated when, as occasionally happened, a tobacco chewer brought his “cud” into the council chamber. That explains the reference to the “council of high priests” in verse one of the revelation. It was the use of tobacco by this body of Priesthood that brought the matter to a head.

The practice of the Prophet was to lay before the Lord all questions that arose, and await answers. Such an appeal was made with respect to tobacco, and in due time the revelation called the Word of Wisdom was received. The inquiry may have been confined to tobacco; the response covered the whole field of food and drink. It was often so. A simple question was the beginning of a vast unfolding of truth.

While the inquiry was occasioned by experiences among the “council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland” and the answer directed in part to them, the revelation was also for “the church and the saints in Zion” and “all saints, who are or can be called saints,” that is, for the Church everywhere. It was so interpreted by Joseph Smith and has been so taught by his successors.

A Law of the Church. The words, “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”, have led to much discussion, chiefly by those who do not conform in their habits to the principles laid down in the Word of Wisdom.

Mankind is never compelled or “constrained” to accept or obey the words that come from the Lord. Man’s free agency should ever be respected. That is the fundamental principle of human action; it is stated or implied in every divine communication. In the Word of Wisdom it is but stated more boldly. Even when the Lord says, “I command”, it is a statement of cause and effect. Unless obedience is yielded, certain rewards are forfeited.

Moreover, this forthright statement was a protection to Joseph Smith. The Word of Wisdom enters into personal daily habits, always difficult to change. The Lord was supposed in those days, as frequently in our day, to confine Himself to spiritual matters. It might have been thought by those weak in the faith that Joseph’s personal predilections lay at the bottom of the new order, and that he was using his high office in the Church to interfere (command and constrain) with matters that were beyond his jurisdiction. As far as he was concerned, it was “to be sent greeting”, as are all the commandments of the Lord.

The words that follow clear up the question fully. It was given “by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and the will of God.” It came by “revelation” and not because of the likes or dislikes of the Prophet. Whatever is “the will of God”, men are required to do, if they wish full salvation. The Word of Wisdom is the will of God, hence binding upon all who desire to show full obedience to the principles of the plan of the Lord for human welfare. God’s human children may accept or reject the truths of the Word of Wisdom– it is their privilege– but they lose by disobedience the blessings promised the obedient.

Whether the Word of Wisdom is a law of the Church or merely a kindly suggestion was discussed soon after the revelation was received. The history of the Church shows clearly that it has been regarded as a law by all of the sustained leaders of the Church. In the early days of the church, men were suspended from office because they were breakers of the Word of Wisdom; others were excommunicated because of continued disregard of the Lord’s law of health. [fn2] At a High Council meeting held on February 20, 1834, under the presidency of Joseph Smith, Orson Hyde and Oliver Cowdery being clerks, it was decided that “No official member is worthy to hold an office after having the Word of Wisdom properly taught him and he, the official member, neglecting to comply with or obey.” [fn3] On April 8, 1838, President Joseph Smith, Jr. spoke on the Word of Wisdom, giving the reason for its coming forth, saying it should be observed. fn At a general meeting of the Church, called by the First Presidency, held at Far West on May 28th, 1837, at which were present representatives of the Apostles, Seventies, and Presiding Bishopric, was enacted a resolution which reads:

“Resolved unanimously that we will not fellowship any ordained member who will not, or does not, observe the Word of Wisdom according to its literal reading.” [fn2]

President Brigham Young said,

“I know that some say it [the Word of Wisdom] is not given by way of commandment. Very well, but we are commanded to observe every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. . . . I now again request the authorities of this church . . . to sever from this society those who will not cease getting drunk.” [fn5]

At the October, 1937, General Conference, President Heber J. Grant spoke as follows:

“We expect all the General Officers of the Church, each and every one of them, from this very day, to be absolute, full-tithepayers, to really and truly observe the Word of Wisdom; and we ask all of the officers of the Church and all members of the General Boards, and all Stake and Ward officers, if they are not living the Gospel and honestly and conscientiously paying their tithing, to kindly step aside, unless from this day they live up to these provisions.

“No Latter-day Saint is entitled to anything that is contrary to the mind and will of the Lord, and the Word of Wisdom is the mind and the will of the Lord.” [fn6]

A Principle with a Promise. In common with all other laws of the Lord, obedience to the Word of Wisdom brings certain rewards. It is for the “benefit” of the people.

Special reference is made in verse two to the value of this law in the “temporal salvation of all saints in the last days”. Clearly, a healthy body permits a person to perform his “temporal” labors more effectively. Moreover, in these days of keen competition, the man who complies with the Word of Wisdom, and thereby wins greater physical stamina, and saves the money others expend for alcohol, tobacco, and habit-forming drinks, has a decided “temporal” advantage. (see chapters 2 and 18)

President Heber J. Grant said in the General Conference of the Church in October, 1933:

“Do you want to know how to obtain temporal salvation? Not only the Latter-day Saints, but all the world would have the solution of that problem if there were no tea, coffee, liquor nor tobacco used in the world. Peace, prosperity and happiness would come to the entire world.” [fn7]

Adapted to the Capacity of the Weak. Conformity to the Word of Wisdom brings quick results in improved health of body and in increased spiritual power. It should not therefore be difficult to obey.

Bad habits are persistent enemies. Those of the body clamor for attention; yet once overcome they remain silent. Conquest of self may always be accomplished if the will is born of strong enough desire. The training of the will is the beginning of personal power; and such training is always initiated by sincere, continuous desire.

Obedience to the positive aspects of the Word of Wisdom have the effect of increasing bodily health, thereby reducing the taste for the things warned against in the negative division. Thus there lies within the Word of Wisdom itself the means of full obedience to it. It may be that in some such sense the Word of Wisdom is adapted “to the capacity of the weak and the weakest”.

However, there is a larger view. The successful life is ever training its will in obedience to principles of truth. These principles are of a temporal and a spiritual nature. In the last analysis spiritual laws are more difficult to obey than temporal ones, but the blessings enjoyed are increasingly greater. In that sense the Word of Wisdom is adapted to the capacity of the weakest of all saints, “who can be called saints”. A person who cannot obey a temporal law, such as the Word of Wisdom, seldom can obey spiritual laws, which reach more profoundly into the nature of man. That is, those who are living the high spiritual laws of the Gospel, true saints, must have achieved sufficient desire and power of will to obey the temporal commandment known as the Word of Wisdom. Unless they have done so, the spiritual integrity of such persons may be called into question.

Footnotes

1. Doctrine and Covenants 89:1-3.

2. History of the Church, Vol. II, p. 482.

3. History of the Church, Vol. II, pp. 34-35.

4. Far West Record, p. 111.

5. Discourses, pp. 283-284.

6. Improvement Era, Vol. 40, p. 665.

7. Conference Report, October, 1933, p. 9.


The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, p. 31

Chapter 4

“EVILS AND DESIGNS”

“In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation– ” [fn1]

A Word of Warning. The special reason for giving the revelation known as the Word of Wisdom is set forth in the above quotation. Due to evil-minded persons, mankind may be led away from the natural mode of living which insures good health and happiness. That is, innocent persons may often be misled by those of evil designs to do things injurious to health. The Word of Wisdom is therefore a warning as well as a guide. This is of especial importance in our day.

The Progress of Fraud. Fraud and deceit have been practiced since the beginning of history. The ancient Egyptians bought expensive hair restorers made chiefly of date refuse; and we of this day pay a ten-fold price for flavored chalk labeled fancifully as a magic tooth powder. Brass has been called gold; glass has been sold as diamonds; and poison has been hawked as excellent food. The story of fraud throughout the ages forms an ugly chapter of human history.

Those who practice fraud are evil-minded, a menace to society, whose subtle designs are against the welfare of their fellowmen. Without hesitation they deliberately and knowingly sacrifice others to secure their own purposes. They are impelled by insatiable, merciless selfishness and greed. Avarice is their god. They gloat over their profits as their dupes lose money, health and often life. They frequently “conspire” together to accomplish their “designs”. They are many times more dangerous than the open enemy.

In earlier days the methods of fraud were simple, often crude. Knowledge was limited, and the people were not generally enlightened. The appeal was often to ignorance and superstition. In this latest day of advancing science when men are more generally educated, fraud has been compelled to employ more refined methods. Fraud now uses the best knowledge of the day, and clothes its wolfish nature with a lamblike vesture of apparent truth, therefore its dangers have been multiplied in recent years.

Many observing men have recognized this evergrowing evil. As early as 1879, a bill was introduced in the United States Congress to protect the public against food and drug adulteration, but it was defeated through the efforts of the powerful combinations of men whose financial interests were involved. Repeatedly, the bill was introduced and rejected. Not until 1906 did it become law, and legal weapons secured to control partially the monstrous evil of fraud. Since that time fraud has been concerned, often successfully, in circumventing the law. Attempts to secure legislation to improve and strengthen the law have so far failed. So-called “pressure groups” are well organized and ever alert to protect those whose finances are involved, while the consumers are unorganized and unprotected. [fn2] Pure food and drug laws have been passed within the last generation by most civilized countries; but the difficulties encountered there are much like those of the United States. Fraud continues to prosper exceedingly.

At times, informed groups of private citizens have taken up arms against fraudulent offerings and advertising. Such helps to the efforts of the Government and the resulting publicity have checked temporarily this or that violation of the law, but another crop of frauds under other disguises has soon followed and flourished until the organization of another reform campaign.

The warning against fraud, particularly with reference to the materials mentioned in the Word of Wisdom, is greatly needed today, when wicked men have at their command the resources of science and the glare of modern advertising with which to connive against the welfare of man.

Adulterations. With the advent of new knowledge, the means of adulteration have been multiplied, and a great variety of dishonest commodities, many injurious, now appear on the market.

Formerly, simple forms of adulteration were common. White, inert matter, gypsum perhaps, was added to flour, or potatoes were soaked in water, to increase weight, or water was added to milk to increase the volume. Today, such easily detected attempts at deceit are seldom made. More subtle adulterations, much more difficult to trace, are now employed. An elusive chemical adulterates Jamaica ginger; olive oil is blended with a cheaper oil and offered as pure olive oil; a gelatin consists largely of glue; glucose is mixed with a trifle of honey and sold as pure honey; “maple syrup” is often chiefly a solution of cane or beet sugar artificially colored and flavored; and a strawberry jam may contain an insignificant amount of strawberries.

Another phase of modern food adulteration is the attempt to make an inferior article so attractive in looks that it may be sold at a first-class price. For example, old meat is made to acquire a fresh red color by the use of sodium sulphite, a substance injurious to man; tomato paste made chiefly of materials other than tomatoes is colored and flavored to resemble the real article; canned goods with brilliant labels bear no relationship in price to quality.

A menace to health is the use of preservatives to prevent the decomposition of perishable substances, meats or vegetables. Formaldehyde, salicylic acid and boric acid, injurious to the body, formerly in common use, are now, under legal pressure, seldom used as preservatives; but benzoate of soda and sulphur dioxide gas, banned in some countries, are still employed in America. While the quantity used may be small, yet no doubt it endangers human health; for as one author has aptly said, “Whatever will kill bacterial protoplasm will kill human protoplasm”.

A distorted public taste frequently leads to food treatments of possible danger to the consumer. In answer to utterly foolish demands by the public, the naturally slightly yellow wheat flour is bleached snow white by chlorine, nitrogen trioxide or other distinctly harmful agents; dried fruits, naturally discolored by sun and air in the process of drying, are bleached with sulphur dioxide gas; ketchup and a variety of other condiments and soda water drinks are usually colored with coal-tar dyes, many of which are causes of disease. [fn3] Little of the bleaching or coloring agent may remain in the food or drink, but that which does remain injures health, especially in cases where the effects are cumulative.

It is moral depravity that makes it possible for a manufacturer to place the meats of diseased animals on the market, or to can putrifying materials for public consumption. Yet this is often done, and the unsuspecting purchaser wastes his money and invites disease.

A dangerous variation of food adulteration is the production of candies, gum, crackers and bread mixed with drugs or bacteria, supposed to relieve some disorder of the human body.

An unpremeditated food adulteration is the small deposit of arsenic and lead salts on apples and other fruits that have been sprayed with these substances for the control of orchard pests. Legal regulation has compelled safer and more moderate types of spraying, especially in Europe and some states in America. Meanwhile, all consumers should make it a practice to wash thoroughly all fruit before it is eaten.

It is of course elementary dishonesty more injurious to the purse than to health that leads to selling milk of the same character at different prices by labeling one “Grade A” and the other “Grade B”; or canning or drying inferior meat, fish, eggs or vegetables and selling them as first class articles.

The public should also be informed concerning cosmetics and toilet articles used so extensively by women. Many of these contain dangerous, often poisonous substances, which have led to pitiful injury, even death.

Human suffering beyond computation has followed the various forms of food adulteration above mentioned, and there are hundreds of others. The whole story, written by man’s love of gold, is revolting to the last degree.

A mass of recent literature sets forth the present status and menace to man of food adulteration.

Agencies exist to inform the public on these important matters. Foremost among them are the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C., and the American Medical Association, Chicago, Illinois. A letter of inquiry to these agencies regarding any product will bring an honest reply. Support should be given to state and local boards of health which to some degree protect the consumer against frauds in foods. The Consumers’ Research Corporation in Washington, D. C., is also giving good help in the battle against dishonest methods.

The best protection against food fraud is to use natural foods and food products, even though the cost may seem higher.

False Advertising. Governmental supervision is making it more difficult to practice food adulteration. The attention of producers has been directed therefore to methods by which increased sales may be won for their products. Driven by competition, greed and avarice, men have resorted to fraudulent advertising almost as foul as direct adulteration.

By law the label on a bottle, can, or package must show the presence, if any, of an adulterant or injurious substance. To circumvent this requirement and to deceive the public, the notation of the adulterant is often printed in very small letters, sometimes difficult to decipher with normal eyes, while the wholesome ingredients are printed in type so large as to shout from the shelf to the customer. Many an unwary person is led by this device to the use of unwholesome or adulterated foods or drinks.

A more prevalent method of false advertising is to print the truth on the label as required by law, and then on a wrapper to distort the truth by printing all the imaginary properties and virtues of the article in question. The same distorted truths may be told over the radio, for there is no present law to control satisfactorily this means of advertising.

Another method is to print on the package or loaf– of a wheat product for example– that the whole wheat kernel is used, that neither the bran nor the germ (containing the minerals and vitamins) have been removed; but it does not state that in the process of preparation the vitamins have been destroyed. While a part of the truth is told, the deceived purchaser thinks that he is buying a vitamin-rich product.

A contemptible deception is to place false bottoms in containers, making the quantity contained look larger than it really is; or to fill the container so loosely as to have the same effect. Bottles are frequently made with sunken bottoms and sides, thus made to look larger than they really are.

Deceiving titles of probably wholesome food products are commonly employed. A can containing cheap fish is labeled “white meat fish”; a bottle labeled “salad bouquet” contains a cheap kind of vinegar; a peanut spread is a mixture of peanut butter and starch; chicken and noodles are chiefly noodles and water. Such misleading names are used, apparently, in the hope that the purchaser may think the fish to be an expensive variety, the salad bouquet to be cider vinegar, the peanut spread to be true peanut butter, and the can of chicken and noodles to be filled with chicken. A long list of such articles is on the market. This type of fraud, while perhaps not injurious to health, does improperly divert money from the consumer to the producer.

Misinformation concerning food products becomes most dangerous when concerned with the effects upon the body. Producers point out, irrespective of the facts in the case, the virtues of their product in healing disease or maintaining health. Desire for such a perfect product is engendered in the reader. The product becomes popular. The commonest of articles are thus “boosted” by misleading statements. Bread may be advertised to make a person fat or thin; honey to contain elements that practically insure against old age; canned foods to be superior to fresh meats and vegetables; radio-active waters to bring youth back to age; grape juice to supply every element missing in the blood; a weak chocolate, under a fancy name, to banish sleeplessness; alcohol to give joy to life; tobacco to promote digestion and to soothe nerves when great work is to be done; coffee and tea to be less harmful to the body than clear mountain water; an inferior quality to be in reality a superior one. Such deliberately dishonest statements, distorting scientific facts, are spread broadcast over the land by printed page and radio until many people come to believe them.

The means used in this improper propaganda are many. The mails are used widely. Most persons receive unsolicited literature recounting the merits of this or that article of food or drink. Billboard advertising is extensive. The radio and the motion picture are being used more and more. Advertising in newspapers and magazines is, however, the most widely used means of spreading false as well as true propaganda. Indeed, the American advertising bill is enormous. A few years ago it exceeded one billion dollars; today it is no doubt larger. To give a few examples: one food firm spent four million dollars annually for advertising in periodicals; one breakfast food manufacturer alone spent one million dollars; three tobacco firms spent during the first six months of 1937 nearly six millions of dollars in magazine and radio advertising. The money spent for education and medical care is small compared with the vast sum spent for advertising unnecessary or harmful commodities on the modern market. In the end the consumers pay these huge bills.

The statements made in many of these advertisements are misleading or fraudulent, but are within the law. Nevertheless, a manufacturer who stoops to mislead the public cannot expect to be classed with honest men.

Any intelligent person who will sit down for a few hours to study the current advertisements of foods and beverages will discover the fraud that runs through many of them. Only honest advertisers should be patronized. Pressure from advertisers frequently masks the true feelings of periodicals towards fraud.

Making Use of Fads. The rapid increase and dissemination of knowledge have necessarily led to wide public interest in the application of man’s new knowledge to human needs. Nutrition and matters of health have not escaped. The recent accession of facts concerning nutrition has sharpened interest in the relation between food and health, especially in view of the recognition of the fact that the science of nutrition is far from being complete.

Food fads and fancies have therefore multiplied. Some of these rest upon sound knowledge; many of them are worthless and dangerous. Systems proposed for preserving health and lengthening out life are innumerable. Here are some of them: use no meat; eat no vegetables; eat only fruit; pay attention only to vitamins; minerals are the only concern; eat very little, fast a great deal; drink nothing but grape juice; eat salads to reduce, eat salads to grow fat; etc., etc. Dried vegetables are mixed and sold as “mineral broth” at an exorbitant price, while ordinary senna leaves are mixed with other dried leaves, given a fanciful name, and sold as a famous natural laxative. Those engaged in fraud have taken advantage of such situations, and have undertaken advertising propaganda of some food fad for the purpose of popularizing their own products.

This kind of fraud has been and is very harmful, physiologically and economically, to the public at large.

Refined Foods. Modern knowledge has given man the power to refine his foods, until some of them may become very much changed from the natural conditions in which they are found. The common use of such refined, and in most cases concentrated foods, has at times, for want of adequate knowledge, led to injurious results. Occasionally, also, unscrupulous advertising, unmindful of the facts in the case, has increased the possible danger from the unwise use of refined, concentrated food products. (see chapters 12 and 13)

Since these foods are often advertised inaccurately, the subject comes properly under the warning given by the Word of Wisdom as quoted at the head of this chapter. The power of modern man to refine his foods is not an unmixed blessing. Public education and honest advertising are necessary here as elsewhere.

“Conspiring Men with Evils and Designs”. All persons should inform themselves about the practice of fraud in their country. Before purchasing, one should be sure of the value of the article. Those known to be falsely labeled, or misrepresented by advertising, should be shunned as a matter of public service.

The American nation is fast becoming a people who eat out of packages and cans and drink out of bottles, thus furnishing the opportunity for unscrupulous persons to practice fraud upon their fellowmen.

The principles of the Word of Wisdom point securely to the safe and sane way to health through proper nutrition and the use of natural food products, without becoming subject to the attacks of frauds.

In view of the food frauds perpetrated upon the public, compelling legal action and continual supervision, the warning in the Word of Wisdom concerning evil and designing men who will conspire to harm their fellow men, is fully justified. Indeed, it is a prophetic utterance.

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

American Medical Association Publications.

Fishbein, M., Fads and Quackery in Healing, 1932.

Harding, T. S., The Popular Practice of Fraud, 1935.

Jordan, E. O., Food Poisoning, 1931.

Kallet, A., Counterfeit, 1935.

Phillips, M. C., Skin Deep, 1934.

Schlinck, F. J., Eat, Drink and Be Wary, 1935.

Schlinck, F. J., and Chase, S., Your Money’s Worth, 1927.

Schlinck, F. J., and Kallet, A., 100,000,000 Guinea Pigs, 1933.

U. S. Department of Agriculture, Bulletins of the Bureau of Chemistry.

U. S. Senate, Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics, Hearings on S. 1944, 1934.

U. S. Senate, Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics, 73rd Congress, Report 493, 1934.

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, Footnotes

Footnotes

1. Doctrine and Covenants 89:4.

2. Herring, E. P., Public Administration and the Public Interest, chapter 14.

3. Life, March 13, 1937, p. 13.


The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, p. 42

Chapter 5

ALCOHOL

“That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, . . . and, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.” [fn1]

Historical. Alcoholic drinks (those containing the substance ethyl alcohol. CH3CH2OH, commonly known as alcohol) have been used from time immemorial. In every land, wine and other forms of fermented liquors have been well known beverages. The warning of the Word of Wisdom is directed against one of the oldest human practices.

The recognition of the injurious effects of alcoholic drinks was not new in Joseph Smith’s day. In almost every country, coincidentally with the record of the existence of alcohol, opposition to its use has been voiced. The Bible, from Noah to the later prophets, contains numerous references to the evil of drunkenness: “Do not drink wine nor strong drink.” (Lev. 10:9); “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” (Proverbs 20:1); “Wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.” (Deut. 32:33); “Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess.” (Eph. 5:18).

Little progress had been made, at the time that the Word of Wisdom was given, in the scientific study of alcohol and its effects on man. However, through long and world-wide human experience many of the evil effects of wine and strong drinks were better understood than before. There was no difference of opinion among intelligent people concerning the excessive use of alcoholic drinks, with the attendant drunkenness, disease and squalor. Perhaps a majority were ready to admit that serious danger lurked even in the moderate use of alcohol. It was only to be expected therefore that the Word of Wisdom, a modern code of health, should speak out against this ancient and widespread evil.

The movements against alcohol, from antiquity to recent days, have fought valiantly for the suppression of this ancient and dangerous dietetic habit of man. Curiously enough, the modern organized effort to stamp out the liquor evil, under the advocacy of total abstinence, began about the time that the Word of Wisdom was received. This agitation culminated on September 1, 1832, in Preston, England, when total abstinence pledges were signed by seven persons. [fn2] It was in the Preston Society also that the word “teetotalism” was coined. There is slight probability that the Prophet Joseph Smith knew anything of this activity.

At various times, legislation has attempted to regulate or eliminate the traffic in alcoholic liquors. While the results have not been all that was desired, yet much good has been accomplished. Manufacturers, who by improper means have encouraged the use of alcohol, have been forced by law into less activity, and there has been a general enlightenment concerning alcohol and its physiological, moral, and economic effects. A most notable episode in the history of alcohol was the prohibition experiment of the United States, which unfortunately was not allowed to go on long enough to secure reliable results.

The unqualified statement against alcohol in the Word of Wisdom was courageous, as it was spoken in the name of the Lord in a day of advancing and progressive science. Does the latest knowledge and most modern thought concerning the effects of alcohol on the human body confirm this phase of the Word of Wisdom?

The bitter controversy which has raged around the liquor question has had the good result of inspiring many careful research workers to study the effects of alcohol on the human body and mind. There is now a vast literature on the subject which has been compiled, collated and reduced to a reasonable compass for everybody’s use. All such works must be read, however, with due reference to the likes and dislikes of the authors, for wherever differences are slight, conclusions are likely to favor the appetites of the writers. Yet, out of the labors of such trained investigators much has been learned upon which all now agree.

Consumption of Alcohol. It is very difficult, almost impossible, to secure full and correct facts regarding the consumption of alcohol. According to the annual report of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, the United States in 1936, consumed 286,316,731 gallons of distilled and rectified spirits and wine; 179,152,628 gallons of still and sparkling wines, and 1,657,985,984 gallons of beer, or a total of over two billions of gallons of alcoholic liquors. That meant per capita in 1936, 11.8 gallons of beer, .6 gallon of distilled liquors, and .3 gallon of wine were consumed, and the consumption is steadily rising. The approximate retail value of this quantity of intoxicating liquor approaches five billions of dollars. Clearly, the money now spent on alcoholic beverages would in a few years wipe out the national debt, and go far towards removing poverty from the land. The world’s liquor bill shows how men and women by catering to unnatural appetites may bring disaster upon themselves and their loved ones. It is rather foolish to set up systems of political philosophy for the cure of economic and other ills, without including the correction of injurious habits such as those of alcohol, tobacco and the like.

Is Alcohol a Food? The advocates of drink claim as a favorite argument that alcohol is a food.

A food is a substance, that when taken into the body, builds, repairs and nourishes the tissues and cells of the body; provides heat and supplies energy for the processes of life. By this definition alcohol is not a food. It contains no nitrogen with which to rebuild or repair cell waste; no sugar, starch, mineral matters, fats or vitamins, all essential in maintaining the body in good health. It is true that alcohol taken in small quantities is removed from the body largely by combustion and that it does in that way supply some heat, but since it fails utterly to meet the other requirements of a food, and may even cause excessive loss of protein, and besides interferes as a narcotic with all normal functions of life, it cannot be classed as a food. [fn3] Authoritative science is conclusive on that point. Besides, alcohol acts as an irritant to the organs of the body, predisposing them to disease, and it develops a vicious, compelling habit– things not done by a food.

Beer, which has been widely advertised as a liquid food, also fails to meet food requirements. Compared with a glass of milk, as is often done, beer shows its deficiencies.

“Milk contains a valuable nutritive fat (cream), beer none. Milk contains a large amount of useful and nutritive sugar; beer contains only a small amount of sugar, the rest of the carbohydrate being useless for purposes of nutrition. Beer contains about one-fourteenth of the protein found in milk, and even much of this is, to say the least, of very doubtful nutritive value. Milk, unless it has been contaminated through neglect and carelessness, contains no poison; beer contains a powerful poison, alcohol. Then again, milk contains valuable vitamins; beer contains none, or practically so.” [fn4]

The best that can be said about beer, as about certain weak wines, is that the percentage of alcohol in it is smaller (from 2.5% to 6.5%) than in the so-called strong drinks; but the continual use of even small doses of alcohol has been shown to produce harmful results.

Neither wine (often containing 12% of alcohol), beer (about 3.5% of alcohol), nor a distilled liquor (more than 50% of alcohol) has true food value. To claim that alcohol in any form is a food betrays, in this enlightened day, gross ignorance or a purpose to deceive.

All these statements have been confirmed by many careful experiments. Alcohol is not a food; it is a poison, a powerful drug which exerts a marked effect upon many of the organs of the body. The desire for alcoholic drink is not a result of a normal need, but of an acquired appetite. By frequent use this appetite too often becomes the master of the will.

Temperate Use of Alcohol. Is there such a thing? No one argues for drunkenness. Its ugly brood are too evident. The question among intelligent people has always been as to the effect of the moderate indulgence in alcoholic beverages. This matter has been put to frequent experimental test, with results definitely against the use of alcohol in even small amounts. Since human beings react to small doses of alcohol, the effect upon the body and mind is merely one of degree. This has been shown to be so by numerous experiments. It has been wisely said that “a man under the influence of even small doses of alcoholic liquor becomes an altered individual– always altered for the worse.”

Alcohol and the Mental Faculties. Alcohol acts as a narcotic upon the brain. That is, it depresses or benumbs mental activities. The drinker seems to gain a feeling of well-being while under the influence of alcohol, even in small amounts. He feels himself freed from the anxieties and bonds placed upon him by the obligations of life. He rises in self-importance; his moral vision is blurred. If alcohol is used intemperately he moves into forgetfulness; all his mental faculties are impaired– he is “drunk”. When he recovers he craves the experience again; the habit grows upon him, and before he is aware, it is his master. Only with the greatest effort can the habit be overcome– and only too often it is never overcome.

The higher brain centers, the voluntary and most intelligent, are paralyzed by alcohol, leaving the lower centers uncontrolled, which, no longer restrained, often run riot. The ship has lost its captain. That is the most familiar fact in connection with the use of alcohol. This loss of control has been shown to extend from the moral field into that of involuntary body movements, even under the influence of from two to three glasses of the lightest beer on the market.

The impairment of the higher mental faculties, occasioned often by as little as one glass of light beer, is of first concern. The moderate drinker suffers a weakening of his perceptive faculties, such as seeing and recognizing signals; or acting promptly under set regulations. The power of memory is likewise diminished; in one experiment nearly one-fifth of the usual memorizing power was lost under the influence of little more than one glass of beer. The ability to give close, steady attention to any subject in hand, to concentrate upon it, is lowered greatly under the influence of a glass or more of beer. The learning process is slowed up when alcohol is in the system. The average school standing of abstainers, if otherwise alike, is always highest. A diminution of mental alertness and keenness is the price paid for alcoholic indulgence, however slight. Since lapses of memory or consciousness are common, the victims, when they recover, are usually unable to remember what has happened. Clearly, such conditions are not only hurtful to the individual but dangerous to society. Our day needs clear brains.

The words of an eminent psychologist, Dr. Hugo Munsterberg, himself a moderate user of alcoholic beverages, are notable:

“If I were to take a glass of beer now in the morning, I should certainly be unable to write the next page of this essay with the same ease. The ideas would flow more slowly,– of course, alcohol before serious, intellectual work disturbs one– psychologically the case stands thus: Alcohol has indeed an inhibitory influence on mind and body. The feeling of excitement, the greater ease of motor impulse, the feeling of strength and joy, the forgetting of sorrow and pain– all are at bottom the result of inhibitions; impulses are let free because the checking centers are inhibited.” [fn5]

But after this cool analysis of the effect of alcohol, he proceeds to argue for its moderate use when the day’s work is done! He ignores the natural way to refreshment, renewed vigor and happiness. It shows the effect of an unnatural appetite, habit, even on a trained mind.

No one can rationally argue that constant interference with the higher mental faculties, from the moderate use of alcohol, can benefit the brain and nervous system. The effect is clearly deleterious. The mind naturally weakens under the repeated influences of alcohol and often becomes diseased.

Dr. F. R. Mott, British mental specialist, declares that in his opinion, alcoholic intoxication is insanity in miniature. In fact, drunkenness often leads to insanity. The U. S. Census for 1910 shows that of all admissions to mental hospitals, 10.1% were due to alcohol, and of the males admitted, 15.3%.

Alcohol and Physical Fitness. The disorders of the brain, occasioned by moderate drinking, necessarily affect all bodily activities, for all are under the control and direction of man’s mental organization.

One of the commonest observations in connection with drunkenness is the lack of coordination between the brain and the body, resulting in clumsiness. The fumbling of a drunken man with the key and the lock is the most familiar illustration. A drunken man cannot thread a needle. Such lack of muscular control is carried into all the operations of life. Under the influence of alcohol, though only a glass of wine or beer is used, the speed of the typist is diminished and errors increased; and the accuracy of the mechanic and all skilled workmen reduced. The unsteady hand, slow judgment and confused head are effects of alcohol, which more and more disqualify men and women for trustworthy positions and expected promotions.

Fatigue and hardship are endured best by abstainers. The safest automobile drivers are those who do not drink alcohol. The aviator who drinks does the poorest work. During the Great War it was demonstrated that non-drinking pilots could last at the front twice as long as drinkers.

Alcohol is an enemy to success in athletics. Experienced coaches are unanimous on that point. Connie Mack said he “wouldn’t bother with a youngster who drinks”! Knute Rockne insisted that his players should abstain from “poisons such as alcohol”. Many athletic champions are abstainers. [fn6]

Alcohol and physical fitness do not travel together.

In the case of women, the future mothers of the race, the evils of alcohol are of even graver consequence, for the mother tainted in body by the use of alcohol, of necessity produces a weaker offspring.

Alcohol and Disease. It is unthinkable that the daily ingestion of any poison will not in time affect the human body unfavorably. In fact, studies in this field have shown correlations between alcohol and disease that cannot be ignored. The particular disease developed depends on the individual, for the weakest organ is usually first attacked.

Alcohol disturbs the body mechanism by its direct effect upon the blood stream. Contained in the blood are many mineral constituents such as sodium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iodine, chlorine, etc. Calcium has been shown to perform functions of special importance to the body. Alcohol in the blood causes a large diminution of the calcium content and other mineral constituents of the blood. (see chapter 9)

The stomach, which receives all drinks, is definitely affected by alcohol. The digestive process is slowed up in the presence of alcohol. In the course of time, inflammation of the stomach tissues usually ensues and gastritis and other disorders appear. The suggestion has been made that injury to the digestive organs by alcohol may be responsible in part for other disorders attendant upon the continued use of alcohol.

Derangements of the liver have been definitely traced to the effects of alcohol. According to many reports from hospitals in the United States, Canada and Europe, the majority of cases (four-fifths) of cancer of the liver are due to the use of alcoholic beverages.

The following instructive table, based upon the Supplement of the 75th Annual Report of the Registrar General of Great Britain (1927), shows the number out of 10,000 of each class afflicted with syphilis and cirrhosis of the liver. Note how brewers and barmen head the list under cirrhosis of the liver. [fn7]

Occupations Syphilis Cirrhosis
Lowest Groups:
          Ministers …………………………………. 85 531
          Anglican Clergy ………………………… 114 521
          Iron Miners ……………………………… 140 313
          Bank officials ……………………………. 207 1,521
          Railway Officials………………………… 214 406
          Bus and Tram Conductors…………… 247 0
Highest Groups:
          Brewers ……………………………………. 4,808 8,000
          Actors ………………………………………. 4,649 4,646
          Waiters ……………………………………. 2,598 2,354
          Cellarmen ………………………………… 2,284 1,537
          Bargemen …………………………………. 2,144 646
          Barmen …………………………………….. 2,137 5,833

The heart and the circulatory systems are also sensitive to alcohol. Under alcoholic effect the heart is compelled to do more work; the chambers of the heart enlarge abnormally, and the circulation of the blood is interfered with; arterial disease may be set up. The kidneys, always sensitive to disturbances of the circulatory system, suffer from the presence of alcohol. Bright’s disease is a frequent accompaniment. The lungs and other organs of the body likewise suffer from the effects of the ingestion of alcohol.

It must be added and emphasized that the use of alcohol reduces the resistance of the body to infection and other similar dangers. Statistics show that the mortality of drinkers is much higher than of abstainers; barmen and brewers are the highest among occupational groups. A survey of the existing literature convinces the student that abstainers from the use of alcohol have the longest expectation of life.

Alcohol and Society. The behavior of any drunken person is sufficient to show that alcohol leads a person to forget or ignore the usual standards of conduct. The moral sense is blurred by even a small amount of alcohol. Tipplers are not exempt. This is said with due deference to the host of good people who are users of alcoholic beverages, and whose high characters and accomplishments are maintained in spite of this habit.

Certain types of criminals are nearly always drinkers. The United States Department of Justice estimates that 80% of the factors making jails and similar institutions necessary are due to the use of alcohol; that 75% of the causes leading to cruelty to children result from the use of alcohol. The disordered brain, following the use of alcohol, seldom acts properly. Crimes and misdemeanors result from the use of alcohol. This is not unexpected. When the higher, controlling faculties are benumbed, the lower faculties assume the power of directing the acts of man.

Poverty is another fruit of alcoholism. Much of our pauperism may be traced directly to alcohol; more of our child destitution may be followed to the same source. The liquor habit dulls all human emotions. Degradation, disgrace, misery and death are results of the use of alcohol. Even one drink gives effects that point to the evils of intemperance.

A vast number of automobile and other accidents, shooting scrapes and rioting, are found associated with the use of alcohol. In the interest of public safety in this automobile age only abstainers from alcoholic liquors should be allowed to use the public highways. While many factors enter into automobile accidents, it is strikingly suggestive that during the period 1933-1936, traffic deaths in the United States paralleled the consumption of liquor.

The famous, longstanding, “Rule G” of the railroads forbids the use of “intoxicants or narcotics”, by employees. Air pilots, likewise, must refrain from the use of intoxicating beverages for 24 hours preceding a trip and during any time on duty, and they must not frequent liquor-dispensing places.

Sexual immorality usually accompanies alcoholism. The dimming of the moral sense weakens the character of the individual. Soon the defenses that education and religion have built up are broken down. Acts of immorality are committed which at the beginning seemed intolerable. It is noteworthy that in the preceding table syphilis increased in almost every instance with cirrhosis of the liver. The conclusion is inevitable: Alcohol causes moral as well as physical disease. Alcoholism is a menace to society.

Alcohol as a Racial Poison. In yet another way is society deeply interested in this question. Alcohol is a racial poison. The injury from it does not cease with the person who uses it, but harms his children and children’s children as well. This difficult but important subject has been under experimental study, the results of which point consistently to the inheritance of certain of the evils of alcoholism.

An authority on this subject asserts that:

“Alcohol taken in excess, or freely and continuously, has the power of breaking through all the defensive barriers and producing the most profound effect upon the sex glands and consequent interference with the sperm or germ cells. In such cases the alcohol causes degeneration of the protoplasm of the germ-plasm, interferes with what is called spermatogenesis (that is to say, the formation of mature sperm cells), and if the germ-plasm is not actually destroyed, its architecture may be so interfered with as to cause imperfect offspring in the next, immediate generation.” [fn8]

Thus the very future of the race depends upon the use or avoidance of alcohol.

“Because the continuity and essential well-being of the race depends upon germ-plasm, the sex organs are naturally of profound significance, and although remarkably resistant in many ways, it is an accepted fact today that they can be damaged by certain substances and thus cause injury to the immediate and succeeding generations. In 1906 Dr. C. W. Saleeby termed these substances Racial Poisons. The term has passed into current scientific language, and is applied to those substances which may not only damage the individual but the race as well. The three great racial poisons are lead, venereal diseases, and alcohol.” [fn9]

The effects upon the coming generations are altogether too evident to be ignored. Drinking parents have more than the average of mentally and physically defective children; their children also have a high early mortality; in those that survive and are normal there is often a persistence of the weaknesses developed in their parents by intemperance.

The Indictment Against Alcohol. The evidence against alcohol in any form as a beverage is overwhelming. One needs only examine the voluminous literature on the subject to become convinced of the truth of this statement. Let the indictment be summarized.

Alcohol is a poison which injures body and mind, the degree of injury depending upon the amount used. Its use causes poverty, since money that should be spent for food, clothing, shelter and recreation is paid out for this harmful beverage. Alcohol also dulls the moral senses, for a person ever so little under the influence of alcohol, is no longer his natural self, but irresponsible, inexact, careless, often cruel. The unhappy after-effects of alcohol increase the desire for the forgetfulness induced by more alcohol. Thus the habit grows, and becomes the master of the man. In the wake of alcohol are poverty and sorrow, misery and ruin, disease and death.

Almost the worst indictment against alcohol is that those who do not drink are injured through its use by others. The workman spends his week’s earnings on drink and leaves his wife and children to starve. The drunkard loses his job and drags his children down to woe of body and soul. In the presence of alcohol as a beverage, the finer instincts of man vanish, the atmosphere becomes tainted, the finer human impulses stifled. There is no denial of these charges and a hundred others.

The consumption of alcohol has been a monstrous evil throughout the ages and the human misery caused thereby is beyond computation. Its use among intelligent people rests upon two counts: Weakness of the will in the face of the tempting but ugly desire for alcohol; and the lustful greed for money by those who make and sell the poison.

The defender of the alcohol habit declares that he is a moderate user of alcohol, therefore the indictment does not fit him. That is but subterfuge, a vain excuse. It is the moderate drinker who often becomes the immoderate user, and it has been amply demonstrated that small doses of alcohol affect the drinker unfavorably, both temporarily and permanently.

The claim is sometimes made by those who should know better that the use of alcohol does not shorten life. The drinker will point to the drinker who has attained a high age. He is the exception and the argument is unsound. Judgment must be formed from the behavior of a group. The use of alcohol is not the only factor that tends to lengthen or shorten life. From statistics compiled by insurance companies and others it is safe to say that abstinence from alcoholic liquors tends to lengthen out the span of life; and what is of almost greater consequence, to increase health and the joy of living. The fact remains that for one drinker there are many abstainers who reach old age. The one drunkard who lives a long life is uncommon and therefore obtains publicity. Insurance companies with financial interests involved hold moderate as well as heavy alcohol users as poorer risks than those who abstain from the beverage. The user of alcohol must therefore pay more for his insurance. Insurance statistics show that the death rate increases steadily with the degree of alcoholic intemperance.

The indictment against alcohol is complete. Specious arguments by those addicted to the habit do not change facts.

An Official Verdict. In no respect can alcohol as a beverage be said to increase physical or mental efficiency. So well is this understood that the practice of using alcohol in hospitals has almost ceased. Other means, more adequate and less harmful, are now employed. The hospital milk bills have gone up and the alcohol bills down.

The American Medical Association has gone on record against the general use of alcohol in medical practice in resolutions formulated and adopted in 1917 by the House of Delegates:

“Whereas, we believe that the use of alcohol is detrimental to the human economy, and

“Whereas, its use in therapeutics as a tonic or stimulant or for food has no scientific value; therefore,

“Be it Resolved, that the American Medical Association is opposed to the use of alcohol as a beverage; and,

“Be it Further Resolved, that the use of alcohol as a therapeutic agent should be further discouraged.” [fn10]

On the other hand, alcohol is being used, as suggested in the Word of Wisdom, for external use– for rubbing to reduce fevers, for hardening the skin to prevent bedsores, for sterilizing instruments and skin for hypodermic injections and for many other similar purposes. The validity of the Word of Wisdom with respect to alcohol is fully vindicated.

What to Do? Education is the first and perhaps the last step in the fight against alcohol. If the dangers of alcohol were impressed upon the minds of the public as are the rules of arithmetic, alcoholic beverages would lose their present social standing. The foolish hostess who serves a cocktail to her guests, presumably her friends, to ensure a more sparkling conversation at her dinner table, is usually unaware of the fact that “the amount of alcohol contained in a cocktail produces a greater effect on the central nervous system than three or four times its alcoholic content administered as beer” (Dr. W. E. Dixon), that she is helping to destroy the health and ultimate happiness of her friends.

It is very probable that if temperance education in schools, churches and all welfare organizations had accompanied the American prohibition experiment, the vicious, unrelenting propaganda by those interested in making money from alcoholic drinks would not have succeeded in defeating the prohibition amendment.

Alcohol is a poor pick-me-up compared to other, harmless drinks. The story is told that F. W. Kraemer, the famous English film director, while directing the play “Tin Gods”, in the midst of a long, trying work period, called to a new property man to get him some “dynamite”. Half an hour later the man returned with the report that dynamite was not to be had, even at the arsenal! What Mr. Kraemer really wanted as a drink was a special non-alcoholic pick-me-up, which had been found to be so successful in “toning up” the tired actors that it had been nick-named “dynamite”. It was a glass of milk into which two eggs and the juice of an orange were beaten! Alcohol is a poor and injurious tonic; there are others, better and harmless.

The personal methods of overcoming the habit are like those suggested for the conquest of the tobacco habit. (see chapter 6)

Wine for the Sacrament. The Word of Wisdom provides that wine used for the Sacrament, should be “pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.” This statement is understood to mean new or unfermented grape juice, since the Word of Wisdom declares unequivocally against the internal use of alcohol in any form.

This interpretation is reinforced by the fact that under divine command, water was early in the history of the Church substituted for wine, for sacramental purposes. The revelation reads:

“For, behold, I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory– remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins.” [fn11]

Water is always used by the Church in partaking of the sacrament.

Reference is often made to the supposed use of wine by the Savior at the last supper. It is well known, however, that the words “the fruit of the vine” have been translated as “wine”. It is equally well known that in the Old Testament, three different words are translated “wine”, two of which, used most commonly, refer clearly to unfermented grape juice. In the New Testament two Greek words, not necessarily representing fermented grape juice, are translated “wine”. Intoxicating wine was not a common beverage among ancient Israel. [fn12]

The Word of Wisdom Confirmed. Certain it is that the prohibition in the Word of Wisdom against the use of alcohol as a beverage is in full concord with the best knowledge of the day. The direct statement of the Word of Wisdom implying that alcohol is not good for man must be looked upon, in consideration of the knowledge of Joseph Smith’s day, as an evidence of divine inspiration.

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

Bogen, E., and Hisey, L. W. S., What About Alcohol, 1934.

Chapple, W. A., Evils of Alcohol, 1911.

Corradini, R. E., Narcotics and Youth Today, 1934.

Crichton-Browne, Sir James, What We Drink, 1930.

Emerson, H., Alcohol and Man, 1932.

Fisher, I., Prohibition At Its Worst, 1926.

Fisher, I., and Broughamp, Prohibition Still At Its Worst, 1928.

Gordon, E., When The Brewer Had The Stranglehold, 1930.

Harkness and Fort, Youth Studies Alcohol, 1937.

Horsley, Sir Victor, and Sturge, M. D., Alcohol and the Human Body, 1915.

Koren, J., Alcohol and Society, 1916.

Palmer, B. R., A Syllabus of Alcohol Education, 1935.

Pearl, R., Alcohol and Longevity, 1936.

Samuelson, J., History of Drink, 1878.

Transeau, E. L. B., Effects of Alcoholic Drinks, 1933.

Weeks, C. C., Alcohol and Human Life, 1929.

Williams, A. D., and Stoddard, C. F., The Scientist Experiments with Alcohol, 1935.

Alcohol: Its Action on the Human Organism, British Medical Research Council, 1923.

A Review of the Effects of Alcohol on Man, under the auspices of a British Committee, 1931.

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, Footnotes

Footnotes

1. Doctrine and Covenants 89:5, 7.

2. Evans, R. L., A Century of “Mormonism” in Great Britain, 1937, pp. 44-49, Deseret Book Company.

3. Weeks, C. C., Alcohol and Human Life, 1929, p. 63.

4. Weeks, C. C., Alcohol and Human Life, pp. 67, 68, 1929.

5. Munsterberg. H., American Problems, 1910, p. 81.

6. Transeau, E. L. B., Effects of Alcoholic Drinks, 1933, p. 42.

7. Weeks, C. C., Alcohol and Human Health, 1929, p. 107.

8. Weeks, C. C., Alcohol and Human Life, pp. 110-111, 1929.

9. Ibid., pp. 103-104.

10. Manual for Teaching in Massachusetts, p. 25.

11. Doctrine and Covenants 27:2.

12. Gall, An Interpreting Concordance of the New Testament, 1863; Ritchie, Wm., Scripture Wines, 1870; Emerson, R. E., A Lay Thesis on Bible Wines, 1902.


The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, p. 63

Chapter 6

TOBACCO

“Tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.” [fn1]

Historical. The use of tobacco by civilized man dates from the discovery of America by Columbus. The early explorers observed that the North American Indians smoked the leaves of the tobacco plant for ceremonial purposes. Some of the early colonists adopted the practice, and carried it to Spain, England and other European countries. The practice spread slowly over Europe and became current among the American Colonists.

At first it was thought that tobacco-smoking was beneficial and health-giving, but later and longer observation of tobacco users convinced the majority of people that it was injurious to the human system. Laws and royal proclamations forbade the use of tobacco, and smoking became a punishable offense. Victims of the tobacco habit found, however, that these laws were not enforced, and the practice grew.

There were always sharp differences of opinion between the smokers and the non-smokers concerning the effect of tobacco on the user of it. Books and pamphlets were written and speeches delivered, for and against the practice; but in that day, when the scientific treatment of human problems had scarcely begun, neither side could bring convincing evidence to its support. All agreed, however, on two points of major importance: that tobacco was not necessary for human welfare, and that the tobacco habit was exceedingly difficult to overcome.

Such was the condition of the tobacco question in 1833, when the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation known as the Word of Wisdom. What is the verdict on the use of tobacco, and therefore on this phase of the Word of Wisdom, by the century since then, the period of the world’s greatest scientific progress?

Financial Cost. The use of tobacco has increased greatly during the last half century. During the sixty-year period from 1870 to 1930, the production of tobacco in the United States of America increased from 225,000,000 pounds to 1,635,210,000 pounds or nearly eightfold, far in excess of the increase in population. The per capita tobacco consumption by the American people in 1931 was 3 pounds of snuff and smoking tobacco, 43 cigars and 943 cigarettes– a tidy offering for every man, woman and child in the land. And since there are countless people who are not addicted to its use, some idea may be gained of the per capita amount consumed by those who do use it. In 1934 the national consumption was 134,607,741,257 cigarettes, 4,763,883,947 cigars, 95,875 tons of pipe tobacco and 18,030 tons of snuff. [fn2] In 1936, the consumption had increased to 139,968,684,406 cigarettes and 4,863,191,852 cigars.

America produces about 35% of the world’s supply of tobacco. It also consumes more tobacco than any other country. In 1930, when the total per capita consumption of tobacco in the United States of America was 5.92 pounds, it was 4.90 in Belgium, 4.76 in Egypt, 2.95 in the British Isles, 2.90 in France, and 2.35 in Italy.

During this period of increased tobacco use, from 1914 to 1931, the per capita number of cigars consumed decreased from 73 to 43; pounds of smoking tobacco from 4.2 to 2.7; while the per capita number of cigarettes consumed rose from 172 to 943, implying a tremendous shift towards the cigarette, which is a most notable factor in any discussion of the tobacco problem. In further illustration of this shift: During the decade 1926-1936, the annual consumption of cigars has fallen from nearly seven billion to less than five billion, while the consumption of cigarettes has risen from ninety-two billion to nearly one hundred and forty billion.

Dr. Henry Smith Williams has calculated that:

“The cigarettes smoked annually in America would suffice, if packed sardine-like, to pave a highway eighty feet wide from New York to Los Angeles. The cigars smoked annually would supply material for a three-foot shoulder on the highway, also from coast to coast. And there would remain 150,000 tons of tobacco for chewing and pipe-smoking, which would load, obviously, 30,000 five-ton vans.” [fn3]

The recent increase in the use of tobacco, with the shift towards cigarettes, is undoubtedly due, in chief measure, to the whip of an advertising campaign in behalf of tobacco and cigarettes, unprecedented in the world’s history. Page advertisements, cleverly designed, artistically drawn and beautifully colored, setting forth the supposed merits and desirability of the cigarette and of tobacco in general, have been published in every magazine of consequence, irrespective, apparently, of the facts in the case. Men and women of influence have allowed their names, often for money, to be used in behalf of the campaign. To fasten the tobacco habit upon youth, moral depths are reached by some manufacturers. Cigarettes are “doped” with habit-be-getting drugs. The desire for the repetition of the experience becomes correspondingly urgent. The advertising campaign for tobacco illustrates as nothing else the warning of the Word of Wisdom against “evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men”. [fn4] It is true that some manufacturers are producing denicotinized cigarettes. Some of these are relatively free from nicotine, but the majority contain nearly as much nicotine as the ordinary cigarettes.

The world’s tobacco bill is colossal. The value of manufactured tobacco produced in America in 1859 was $30,890,000; in 1929 it was $1,246,242,000. The value of property destroyed annually by fires caused by the matches and cigar and cigarette stubs of smokers is estimated at $30,000,000. The American people pay, therefore, at least $1,276,242,000 annually for the tobacco that they consume in chewing and smoking; and the retail value of these tobacco products is very much greater, approximating $1,500,000,000.

There can be no justification for the expenditure of so vast a sum of money, for an article which is conceded to be unnecessary and decidedly harmful to human welfare. Education, the conquest of poverty, needed national developments, the reduction of the national debt– all point to a better use of the money now spent for tobacco. The people engaged in the industry could with profit to all concerned be redirected into other industries providing the necessities and comforts of man. The economic verdict of the century is against tobacco.

Effects on the Body. In 1822, several hundred years after civilized man began the use of tobacco, it was discovered that tobacco leaves contain a highly poisonous substance, called nicotine, for the French Ambassador to Portugal about 1560, Jean Nicot, who helped spread knowledge concerning tobacco. Nicotine in its pure state is a colorless, oily liquid, a drop of which (as much as is found in a large cigar), taken internally is sufficient to kill a man. In former days, when tobacco was employed in medicine, numerous deaths resulted from the administration of tobacco, due to the presence of the deadly poison, nicotine. Today, tobacco is seldom used in medical practice. The amount of nicotine found in tobacco varies from about one to nine percent.

In the plant, nicotine is combined with various organic acids, forming nicotine salts which are easily soluble in water. Therefore, when tobacco is chewed, the nicotine is dissolved in the saliva and absorbed into the blood; when it is smoked, the heat of the burning material volatilizes the nicotine which is then brought into the body in a gaseous condition. Whether tobacco is chewed or smoked, the poison, nicotine, enters the body; when smoked, a number of combustion products, such as carbon monoxide, acrolein and furfurol, highly injurious to the body, are also inhaled. The first attempt to smoke, as is well known, usually produces an intense illness because the body reacts against the introduction of the inhaled poison. By repeated use, a certain tolerance is acquired, though the body continues to be injured by the practice. Immediate serious results following the chewing or smoking of tobacco are prevented by the gradual introduction of the injurious substances, a process which gives the body an opportunity to distribute them before they accumulate in excessive amounts. Therefore, tolerance for an otherwise poisonous substance is established.

This information should be sufficient to declare that tobacco injures the human frame. A person who takes poison into his system naturally should expect injury to follow. Yet in the face of the knowledge of the composition of tobacco and tobacco smoke, many smokers and chewers insist that no injury to the body results from the use of tobacco. This has led to a more careful study of the problem.

In 1918, a Committee to Study the Tobacco Problem was formed, consisting of 59 men eminent in their respective fields, some smokers, others non-smokers. Dr. Pierre Schrumpf-Pierron, a distinguished French leader in medical science, was appointed by this committee to gather the world’s knowledge concerning the effects of tobacco upon the human body. The results of his studies were published in 1927 under the title, Tobacco and Physical Efficiency. In this work are gathered the reliable clinical data concerning the subject from all countries. “It is the first really complete compendium of the vast amount of literature of various countries concerning the effects of tobacco upon the human system.”

The general findings of this elaborate study are concordant:

1. Tobacco cannot be freely indulged in without injury to the normal action of the heart. The heart-beats are increased 5 to 10 per minute; the blood pressure rises; there is often palpitation and pains in the head. In the lower animals there are marked changes in the walls of the arteries, which may also be the case with man.

2. The respiratory system is affected adversely by the use of tobacco. Hoarseness, coughs, bronchitis, tonsilitis, smokers’ laryngitis, asthma and tuberculosis, are frequent results of smoking.

3. Disturbances of the digestive tract likewise follow tobaccoism. There is frequent loss of appetite, inhibitory action of the salivary glands, chronic pharyngitis, tobacco dyspepsia, cancer of the mouth, intestinal catarrh, duodenal ulcer and changes in the liver.

4. It has been observed also that the use of tobacco tends to delay growth, sometimes causes skin eruptions, dimness of the eyes, and other human ailments.

5. The reproductive powers and functions are interfered with by tobacco. It has been observed that a high death rate exists among children born to habitual smokers, especially where the use is excessive and indulged in by both father and mother. Even sterility may be noted as a result of excessive tobaccoism. [fn15]

6. The degree of injury resulting from tobaccoism depends on the soundness of the individual and the extent of the habit. Those who are subject to degenerative changes, who are diseased, will suffer most directly from the evil effects of tobaccoism.

7. Cigarettes seem worse than pipes or cigars.

8. There is some evidence to indicate that the taste for tobacco may be inherited.

9. Tobacco acts as a narcotic upon the nervous system. It usually acts as a depressant, but it may at times, depending upon the condition of the user, serve as a stimulant. It is a sedative, giving the sensation of rest. This of course is the reaction that makes it so appealing, especially to those who are not in full normal health. The effect of the tobacco wears off, however, in a short time, and the process must be repeated. Thus the habit becomes fixed. Meanwhile the nervous system is subjected to chronic tobacco poisoning, and there often follows, in time, neuralgia, headaches, dizziness, irritability and loss of memory, sometimes even paralysis of vision, hearing, taste and smell.

Dr. Schrumph-Pierron suggests that undoubtedly, as more direct and refined studies of the subject are made, the evil effects of tobacco upon the human body will become even more apparent than they are today.

The author urges a more sober use of tobacco, or better still, complete abstinence or abandonment of it. One cannot deny that, upon the world’s substantiated knowledge, tobacco must be declared seriously harmful to the human body.

The Word of Wisdom is again confirmed.

Effects on the Mind. The Committee to Study the Tobacco Problem appointed Professor M. V. O’Shea of the University of Wisconsin to study the mental aspects of tobaccoism. His findings were published in 1923 under the title Tobacco and Mental Efficiency.

In this investigation, the difficulty of comparing smokers with non-smokers was greater than in securing direct evidence of injured bodily tissue. No one would urge non-smokers to take up smoking for experimental purposes, and it became necessary, therefore, to ask smokers to desist from the practice for certain periods, for comparative purposes. Since smokers were used it was not easily determined what a man might do or have done, had he not been a smoker. Nevertheless, in the face of such handicaps, the investigation resulted in some very valuable and definite conclusions.

Seventy thousand high school records were examined. Intelligence tests showed that smokers and non-smokers did not differ much in native ability. When, however, the scholarship performances of smokers and non-smokers were compared, an “antagonism of a serious nature” was found between smoking and scholarship; “they were incompatible in marked degree”.

The principals of 206 high schools further cooperated in the study. The general results were the same. Scholarship and deportment decreased with the use of tobacco. Professor O’Shea declares that “one cannot go over the reports from these 206 schools without forming the conviction that tobacco is either directly or indirectly playing a tragic role in the high school.”

A number of school principals have from time to time made studies of the mental efficiency of their students afflicted with the smoking habit. Invariably the conclusion is the same: Tobacco is a hindrance to mental efficiency. Professor R. L. Sandwick of Durfield High School, Highland Park, Illinois, made a study of a typical high school:

Average Grade
77 had never smoked……………………………… 84.5
24 had quit smoking………………………………. 80.5
55 habitual smokers, in school…………………. 76.0
45 habitual smokers, quit school……………….. 69.0
Average grade of 10 highest non-smokers ….. 90.9
Average grade of 10 highest smokers …………. 78.9

Dr. George H. Meylan, of Columbia University, made a study of 223 college freshmen and sophomores:

Average
Entrance Grade
Average Grade
During First
Two Years
Failures
During First
Two Years
110 non-smokers ….. 91 69 4%
113 smokers …………. 89 62 10%

Dr. Frederick J. Pack of the University of Utah obtained records from twelve colleges and showed that the scholastic standing of 81 non-smokers was 79.4 and of 81 smokers was 74.5.  [fn16]

Other investigations could be cited, but with the same conclusion: Smoking lowers scholarship.

A few attempts have been made to determine just “what happens to the intellectual activities of a pupil who uses tobacco”. Can he reason as well, add as accurately, read as rapidly, operate a machine as safely? Such experiments are difficult to conduct in view of the many factors to be considered, and especially since, as already suggested, habitual smokers are commonly used in the tests. As far as such experiments have gone, their verdict is against tobacco, for it tends to slow down cerebral activity. This field offers opportunity for most interesting observations.

A paragraph from Dr. Schrumph-Pierron bears directly on this subject:

“It appears from these experiments [on mental efficiency] that smokers who attribute to smoking an increase in their capacity for intellectual and physical work are subjects of autosuggestion; or the increased cerebral circulation from increased heart frequency may seem to produce an increased mental activity.” [fn5]

It may be said, safely, that the use of tobacco decreases mental efficiency. Again, the Word of Wisdom is shown to be correct.

Moral and Social Effects. Large numbers of honorable, industrious, capable people have acquired the tobacco habit. Nevertheless, there are moral aspects to the tobacco problem that cannot well be ignored.

The will of the smoker is unquestionably weakened. He finds it difficult, often impossible, to overcome the habit, once established. Any injury to the will has a moral equivalent. A will too weak to resist the lure of tobacco may at times find itself too weak to resist other evil offerings. Perhaps man can suffer no more serious handicap than the possession of a weak will. There are few more pitiable objects than the youth who, weakened in body and mind by the early and excessive use of tobacco, does not have the necessary power of will, even under kindly leadership, to throw off the habit and save himself for life’s more complete happiness.

It is commonly observed that the smoker becomes careless of little matters of propriety. The cigar or cigarette stubs are thrown into the ash tray; if they miss the receptacle they are allowed to lie where they fall. One need only to note the burned spots in hotel and apartment carpets or in restaurant table cloths. Burning cigarettes are left carelessly on furniture until they burn through the paint into the wood. Cigarette stubs are flung about in the open, resulting in fire damage running into millions of dollars annually. The finer sensibilities of man deteriorate clearly as the tobacco habit grows upon him.

A type of selfishness develops with the tobacco habit. The rights of others are ignored. The smoker on the front seat of the bus will unconcernedly blow his smoke into the faces of the people behind him. He growls if he is asked on a train to confine his smoking to the smoking room. He fills a public dining-room, and often a private one, with tobacco smoke, with utter indifference to the desires of others to whom the habit may be highly offensive. He buys a dime’s worth of cigarettes and assumes that thereby he is entitled to foul the air wherever he goes. The disregard of others, a moral weakness, is most easily observed among smokers, though they themselves, by their very condition, are unconscious of it.

Perhaps the most impressive evidence of moral deterioration due to the use of tobacco is the established fact that other injurious habits are usually associated with tobaccoism. While it cannot be said that all tobacco users drink alcoholic beverages, it may be safely asserted that few if any persons addicted to the use, especially the large use, of intoxicating liquors, are free from the tobacco habit. Tobacco and liquor are bond brothers. Moreover, the path to the use of opium and related drugs is usually via tobacco and alcohol. Likewise it is beyond controversy that criminals are in the great majority of cases users of tobacco. Liquor, tobacco and crime always form a close association.

Several investigations on this subject, notably with respect to high school boys, are in agreement as to the results obtained. Superintendent H. D. Hervey, of Malden, Massachusetts, [fn6] obtained with the aid of his teachers, the following convincing statistics on the moral conditions of the smokers and non-smokers in his schools:

Smokers Non-Smokers
Weak of will ………… 32 1
Coward ………………. 15 0
Liar ……………………. 16 0
Degenerate …………. 7 0
Vulgar ……………….. 12 0
Influence bad ………. 15 0
Disobedience ……….. 18 1
Disrespectful ……….. 11 0
Truant ………………… 16  0

Another interesting study was made of boys in the average public schools of New York City by P. L. Lord. [fn7] Twenty boys were chosen by lot from non-smokers, twenty from smokers, in the same classes in the same schools. Their ages ranged from ten to seventeen years. The two groups were under observation for several months, and reported upon by ten teachers. The results follow:

Smokers Non-Smokers
Nervous ……………………….. 14 1
Impaired hearing …………… 13 1
Poor memory ………………… 12 1
Bad manners …………………. 16 2
Low deportment …………….. 13 1
Poor physical condition ……. 12 2
Bad moral condition ………… 18 1
Street loafers …………………… 16 0
Out nights ……………………….. 15 0
Careless in dress ……………….. 12 1
Truants …………………………….. 10 0
Low ranks in studies …………… 18 3
Failed in promotion …………….. 79 times 2 times
Older than average in grade ….. 19 2

The evidence at hand points clearly to a reduction of moral power from the use of tobacco.

Personal Opinions. The personal opinions of thoughtful men, based upon general observation, are always of value. However, when questions of habit or self-interest arise, answers are likely to be colored with personal desires. Only two classes of people are involved in the tobacco question: Those who praise the tobacco habit, and those who condemn it. Smokers and a few others praise it; non-smokers, and a few others condemn it. It is difficult to accept unsupported testimony from either class. Other evidence must be sought.

Among the eminent men of Europe and America since the introduction of tobacco, many smokers as well as non-smokers will be found. Each group have defended their own practice. When, however, the lives of the smokers are carefully studied, the evil effects of tobacco often appear, as in physical disorders, temperamental vagaries, or early death. This subject also is worthy of careful study.

At various times, studies of the subject have been made by asking men, smokers, who have risen high in the activities of life, to give their opinion of the effects of the tobacco habit. The answers have been various; but, so far, none has claimed that his success was won through the use of tobacco. Any testimony in favor of tobacco from such persons is likely to be faulty, for they belong to a highly selected group, of unusual physical and mental strength, sufficient perhaps to offset temporarily the evil effects of tobacco. How many of these prominent people might have achieved more, done better, and found more happiness without the use of tobacco? The real question is, however, concerning the masses of men, those perhaps of lesser inborn gifts. How many of them have been held back, suffered defeat and tasted the bitterness of life because of the tobacco habit? Were such a survey to be made, the evidence already at hand predicts that tobacco would be condemned in unmeasured terms. Perhaps such studies may yet be made.

However, certain facts of value as to personal opinions concerning tobacco still remain.

Nearly every civilized country has enacted laws against the use of tobacco by minors. Few business enterprises will employ juniors who smoke. This must reflect an international experience which cannot be ignored. The united observation of many peoples against the use of tobacco by youth must be given proper consideration.

Numerous men of highest eminence, usually employers of labor, have pronounced directly against the tobacco habit. Dr. W. J. Mayo, Chauncey Depew, Hudson Maxim, Thomas A. Edison, Luther Burbank, E. H. Harriman, Charles A. Lindbergh, Coach A. A. Stagg, Connie Mack, Madame Schumann-Heink, and Henry Ford, are but a few of hundreds who might be enumerated. The smoker would have you believe that everybody smokes. That is not so. The words of Harvey W. Wiley, internationally famous chemist and food scientist may well be pondered by all.

“I commend Mr. Henry Ford, Mr. Thomas A. Edison, and all people who join them in efforts to curtail or restrict, obliterate or destroy the pernicious habit of cigarette smoking. The use of cigarettes is making inroads on the strength of the nerves of all who smoke them, especially boys of tender years or women who smoke them because they think that the practice is smart. The effect may not be so bad on people of more mature years, but not in any case, no matter how old a man or woman, is smoking helpful. Besides constituting a nuisance, the financial strain connected with the use of tobacco stands between millions of people and home comforts.

“A man should so order his activities that he needs no comforter except wholesome food, illuminating literature, a fond family, and a progressive community. He who has to seek consolation in a drug store is going wrong. There is something out of condition in his make-up. He has a false view of life. Happiness consists in accomplishment, contentment, in satisfaction with the environment, not in Lethean passivity. There is no place in the normal life for an illusory delight nor a drug-provoked contentment. Tobacco never has brought and never will bring any real happiness to humanity.” [fn8]

Effects on Girls and Women. Evil as are the effects of the use of tobacco on men, they are worse on girls and women. Since the World War, girls and women smokers may be seen almost everywhere. Since woman’s nervous organization is more delicate than man’s it is injured more by tobacco; and women, for the same reason, become more abject slaves to the tobacco habit. It has been well established that women who smoke suffer all the evils of tobaccoism and become prematurely aged, because of the effect on the entire body, especially the complexion. The managing director of the National Beauty Shop Association has said:

“The features of women who smoke grow sharper as the nicotine habit fastens upon them, the skin becomes taut and sallow, the lips lose their rosy color, the corners of the mouth show wrinkles, the lower lip shows a tendency to project beyond the upper lip, the eyes acquire a stare, and the lids rise and fall more slowly.” [fn9]

More serious however is the effect of smoking on motherhood. Nicotine is a deadly poison to the life germ. The unborn babe is surrounded by fluids containing nicotine. The milk from the breasts of a smoking mother contain nicotine. [fn10] The babe often comes into the world sick; and is kept sick. Often it is stillborn or malformed. And such cases are much more frequent among smokers. It is always handicapped for life’s journey. In time sterility on the part of the mother may ensue. Motherhood, the crown of womanhood, holy and pure, is exchanged for the cigarette. The future of the race is thus bound up with the use of tobacco. Dr. Hugh S. Cummings, former Surgeon General of the U. S. Public Health Service, declares that “If American women generally contract the [tobacco] habit the physical tone of the whole nation will be lowered– the habit harms a woman more than a man.” Tobacco is a racial poison, but especially when used by women. [fn11]

Tobacco and the Creative Gift. Tobacco is not necessary to accomplish great artistic creations. Some modern workers in the creative fields, notably in literature, claim that their creative ability depends on the use of tobacco. This is folly. In answer, one need only recite the names of the great ones of old, who, before tobacco was available or who were not tobacco users, produced the major classics of literature and art, such as Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Virgil, Goethe, Phidias, Dante, Rousseau, Raphael, Michael Angelo, Locke, and countless others.

The ancient and medieval classics of literature, the masterpieces of sculpture and painting, the models of architecture, the profoundest of philosophies, the most notable explorations, the sublimest examples of faith and heroism, the seven wonders of the world, and a host of other creative products of man came into being before humanity had general access to tobacco. It cannot be maintained that the original and creative activities of the human mind, the greatest, are dependent upon the stimulus given by this narcotic. [fn12]

General Conclusions. Examined from every point of view, in the light of modern knowledge, the prohibition against tobacco in the Word of Wisdom is fully upheld and sustained. The welfare of the race demands the cessation of the use of tobacco. Latter-day Saints should absolutely refrain from its use, both in the interest of their own health and as an example to others. Health of body, clearness of mind, spiritual power and the respect of fellow men will be gained by strict observance of this and the other provisions of the Word of Wisdom.

Curing the Tobacco Habit. It is relatively easy to acquire the tobacco habit. A few days of nausea, headache and vomiting, and the habit sits astride its victim. To stop smoking is quite another matter. It requires the most earnest effort, a fight to the finish. The enemy does not propose to be dislodged.

Many tobacco cures have been suggested. The essence of the successful ones is included in the following six suggestions:

1. There must be a resolute desire to overcome the habit, sufficient to bring the will into action. Usually it is best to make up one’s mind to stop at once and then to stop!

2. Find interesting mental, physical, social activities to help take the mind off tobacco.

3. Eat no stimulating foods. Avoid pepper, mustard and other spices; also all hot or highly seasoned sauces. Drink no alcohol, coffee, tea, or other drug-containing beverages.

4. Adopt a natural diet, in harmony with the positive factors of the Word of Wisdom. That is, plenty of fruit and vegetables, with grain foods and very little meat. (see chapters 8 to 16)

5. Drink plenty of water– six glasses and upward daily.

6. Secure ample physical exercise, and live normally in every way.

It has been found in repeated hospital experience that the best cure of the tobacco habit comes when a rational mode of living is followed.

Proper Uses of Tobacco. The quotation from the Word of Wisdom at the head of this chapter, indicates that tobacco may be put to beneficial uses. It is in fact used very extensively as a disinfectant and insecticide. The poison that it contains kills living organisms and is therefore useful in destroying those inimical to the growth of agricultural crops. Likewise the antiseptic value of tobacco would make it useful in emergencies in cleansing wounds and preventing suppuration. It has long been known that tobacco may be used in treatment of the diseases of the lower animals, though seldom so used now. Modern scientific discoveries have replaced older methods; but the disinfecting power of tobacco as indicated in the Word of Wisdom, and fitting the day it was given, still remains.

A Word of Warning. Tobacco is only one of various narcotics used by man. The story of opium and related substances is one of awful human degradation. So evident have been the evil effects of the use of opium [the juice of the poppy] that by international agreement the sale of opium and its products is confined to the medical profession, to be used strictly and exclusively for medicinal purposes. Despite the earnest efforts of official agencies for the control of the narcotic traffic, the illicit trade in opium is destroying great numbers of human beings annually.

Among the many plants containing narcotic poison to come to the front in very recent days is the ancient Hashish, or Marijuana, often known as Indian Hemp, now occurring as a weed (loco weed) throughout the United States. The dried plant is usually smoked. Its destructive effects upon body and mind are terrible. In its wake are “murders, suicides, robberies, criminal assaults, holdups, burglaries, and deeds of maniacal insanity,” [fn13] with the final deterioration of every natural power of the user.

The conscienceless vendor of marijuana and similar narcotics makes youth his chief victim. The first taste demands repetition; the habit is established; the victim is soon enslaved, too often for life, if life it can be called to live under the thraldom of the drug. Fortunately, for the addict, he cannot live long. The hopes of youth are lost in indescribable misery.

The United States Commissioner of narcotics has warned the public that the vendors of marijuana are operating chiefly among high school students, and he declares that the marijuana cigarette is “as dangerous as a coiled rattlesnake.” [fn14]

It is said that cigarettes may be bought on the open market, made of a mixture of tobacco and marijuana, so that the tobacco smoking habit may be the more quickly and securely fastened upon the beginner. It is difficult to believe that such moral degeneracy may be found in the world of commerce; but parents and all good citizens should be alert in fighting the enemy. Tobacco, while perhaps not as evil as some other narcotics, comes of an evil brood.

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

Alcott, W. A., Tobacco, 1894.

Anslinger and Cooper, Marijuana, Assassin of Youth, American Magazine, July, 1937.

Bastedo, W. A., What The Physician Should Know About Tobacco Smoking, 1935.

Brown, W. H., Tobacco Under The Searchlight, 1925.

Corradini, R. E., Narcotics and Youth Today, 1934.

Crossland, F. B., The Tobacco Habit, 1928.

Fink, B., Tobacco, 1915.

Fisher, I., Tobacco: A Threefold Study, 1924.

Fisher, I. and Fisk, E. L., How to Live, 1920.

Fisher, G. J. and Berry, E., The Physical Effects of Smoking, 1917.

Ford, Henry, The Little White Slaver, 1916.

Kellogg, J. H., Tobaccoism, 1921.

Kress, D. H., The Cigarette as a Physician Sees It, 1931.

Lander, M., The Tobacco Problem, 1885.

Macfadden, B., The Truth About Tobacco, 1922.

Mendenhall, W. L., Tobacco (Harvard Health Talks), 1930.

Oaks, L. W., Can I Quit Tobacco? Yes, 1932.

Oaks, L. W., Medical Aspects of the Word of Wisdom, 1929.

O’Shea, M. V., Tobacco and Mental Efficiency, 1923.

Pack, F. J., Tobacco and Human Efficiency, 1918.

Roman, F. W., Nicotine, 1923.

Schrumph-Pierron, P., Tobacco and Physical Efficiency, 1927.

Sims, A., The Common Use of Tobacco, 1894.

Slocum, C. E., About Tobacco.

Towns, C. B., Habits That Handicap, 1916.

Williams, H. S., Drugs Against Men, 1935.

Wood, Frank Leighton, M. D., Smoking and Other Habits.

The Case Against Tobacco, L. D. S. Social Advisory Committee, 1921.

Flowers and Bowers, The Menace of Morphine, Heroin and Cocaine.

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, Footnotes

Footnotes

1. Doctrine and Covenants 89:8.

2. Time, Vol. 28, No. 25, p. 23.

3. Williams, H. S., Drugs Against Men, 1935, p. 111, Robert McBride Co.

4. During the first six months of 1937, R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Liggett and Myers Tobacco Co., and American Tobacco Co., spent for advertising in magazines and over the radio, $5,854,000, or during the year at the same rate, nearly twelve millions of dollars. Huge sums are spent in addition for other advertising such as in newspapers, by mail advertisements, free cigarettes, etc. (Printer’s Ink, Aug. 7, 1937.)

5. Schrumph-Pierron, P., Tobacco and Physical Efficiency, 1927, p. 53.

6. Journal of Education, 65:485-487, 1907.

7. O’Shea, M. V., Tobacco and Mental Efficiency, 1923, p. 122.

8. Good Housekeeping, January, 1916.

9. Kress, D. H., The Cigarette, p. 32, 1931.

10. Hatcher and Crosley, American Journal Diseases of Children, 38:152, 1927; Emanuel, American Journal Diseases of Children, 44:428, 1931; Sherbon, The Child, p. 202, 1934.

11. Kress, D. H., The Cigarette, 1931, p. 30.

12. O’Shea, M. V., Tobacco and Mental Efficiency, 1923, pp. 112-115.

13. Anslinger and Cooper, American Magazine, July, 1937.

14. See, McCormack, G. R., Hygeia, October, 1937.

15. Dr. Frank Leighton Wood in Smoking and Other Habits, page 58, states: “Temporary, partial, or even complete impotency results in men.”

16. Pack, F. J., Tobacco and Human Efficiency, 1918.


 

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, p. 85

Chapter 7

HOT DRINKS

“Hot drinks are not for the body or belly.” [fn1]

The Meaning of “Hot Drinks”. When the Word of Wisdom was first promulgated in 1833, the question was at once asked: What is the meaning of “hot drinks?” Was it an injunction against consuming beverages so hot as to burn the tongue or mouth? That did not seem reasonable. Did it mean that the consumption of warm drinks should be reduced? That did not, even in that day, seem so unreasonable, for it was recognized that the stomach lining might be made unduly sensitive by frequent large ingestions of hot liquids. In fact, some clinical results of the modern day indicate that hot beverages, continuously used, predispose the stomach to certain serious disorders.

The question concerning the meaning of “hot drinks,” as used in the Word of Wisdom, was at last brought to the Prophet Joseph Smith. He defined “hot drinks” as tea and coffee, the two common household beverages of the day. Joel H. Johnson, with whose family the Prophet was intimate, relates that on a Sabbath day in July (1833) following the giving of the “Word of Wisdom,” when both Joseph and Hyrum Smith were in the stand, the Prophet said to the Saints: “I understand that some of the people are excusing themselves in using tea and coffee, because the Lord only said ‘hot drinks’ in the revelation of the Word of Wisdom. Tea and coffee are what the Lord meant when he said ‘hot drinks.'” [fn2] On March 17, 1838, when the body of Seventies were preparing for their pilgrimage to the “land of Zion,” they agreed that they should see to it that “the commandments are kept, and the Word of Wisdom heeded, that is, no tobacco, tea, coffee, snuff or ardent spirits of any kind to be taken internally”. [fn3] Sometime later, in 1842, Hyrum Smith, the Prophet’s brother, in speaking upon the Word of Wisdom concerning the term “hot drinks” said, “There are many who wonder what this can mean, whether it refers to tea or coffee, or not. I say it does refer to tea and coffee.” [fn4] Brigham Young, who, as the President of the Council of Twelve, was very near to the Prophet, always taught that “hot drinks” meant tea and coffee.

He once said:

“I have heard it argued that tea and coffee are not mentioned in the Word of Wisdom; that is very true; but what were the people in the habit of taking as hot drinks when that revelation was given? Tea and coffee. We were not in the habit of drinking water very hot, but tea and coffee– the beverages in common use.” [fn5]

Moreover, from the time that the Word of Wisdom was received, until the present day, the Church as a whole has understood and taught that the term “hot drinks” refers to tea and coffee and all similar beverages. This definition may be extended to include all drinks whether hot or cold in temperature which, like coffee and tea, contain any stimulating substance, for such are detrimental to health.

This definition of “hot drinks” furnishes the key to this part of the Word of Wisdom.

One may well ask: what has modern scientific investigation to say about this definition of the term “hot drinks”? Has the statement been interpreted arbitrarily or are there good scientific reasons why such drinks are injurious to human welfare?

Historical. Coffee and tea are among the oldest beverages used by man. The origin of their use is lost in antiquity. Coffee appears to have come from Abyssinia, the present Ethiopia, and from the neighboring countries, especially Arabia. Tea on the other hand has come from the Far East, India, China, where it has been used from time immemorial.

Both coffee and tea made their appearance in Europe towards the middle of the seventeenth century, about the time of the introduction of tobacco. Today, coffee and tea are the most widely used beverages of man.

Joseph Smith was not the first to advise against the inclusion of coffee and tea in the human dietary. Mohammed, in the Koran, forbade the use of coffee (also alcohol.) At various times, men, observing the deleterious effects of these drinks upon the human system, have written and spoken against them. Even laws have been passed against coffee and coffee houses.

Economics of Hot Drinks. The coffee and tea habit has spread over the world. In the United States alone, in 1936, the consumption of coffee was 1,739,184,000 pounds or a per capita consumption of 13.48 pounds. The value of this quantity in the raw state was $133,961,369. In the same year the United States used 82,476,599 pounds of tea, about two-thirds of a pound per capita, with a value of $17,885,001. To these vast sums the cost of manufacture and distribution must be added. The combined value in the raw state of these two luxuries, which are detrimental to human health, reached in 1936 the great sum of $151,846,370. The cost to the ultimate consumer was undoubtedly several times as large, approximating $650,000,000. Besides, and of most consequence, “the amount of tea and coffee consumed in America is adequate to supply every adult in the land about three grains of caffeine (a large dose, medicinally speaking) every day in the year.” [fn6] When one considers the numbers of those who do not use these drugs it may be guessed how many over-use them.

The world consumption of coffee in 1933 was not far from five and one-half billion pounds, valued approximately in the raw state, at four hundred million dollars. The world consumption of tea is even larger, but difficult to estimate. Great Britain alone consumed, in 1929, 559,167,758 pounds of tea, valued in the raw state at $187,791,410. China and Great Britain are the chief tea-drinking countries in the world; America and the Scandinavian countries, the chief coffee consumers.

Since all of these and similar beverages are not only unnecessary for human welfare, but actually injurious to the body, the huge expenditures for tea and coffee and similar substances cannot be defended. The money might better be used for the normal, necessary requirements of man.

It seems clear that the “hot drinks” habit has increased greatly in recent years. For example, in the United States the per capita consumption of coffee in 1830 was 2.99 pounds; in 1933, 12.52 pounds– a four-fold increase. The increase in the use of tea in the United States, not a tea-drinking nation, while not so great is substantial.

Composition of Coffee and Tea. At the time of the receiving of the Word of Wisdom little was known of the composition of tea or coffee. The study of the ingredients of the natural products of the plant kingdom was in its infancy, as indeed was the whole science of chemistry. It was of course assumed, since these beverages had a distinct effect upon the body, that they contained some “active principle.”

In 1821, a white, silky substance, odorless and bitter to the taste, was extracted from coffee and named caffeine. Six years later, the same substance was found to exist in tea. Thousands of chemical analyses of tea and coffee have been made during the last century. Coffee contains small quantities of several substances of questionable value to man, such as trigonelline and the depsides; and also from one to two percent of caffeine. Tea, in addition to several other somewhat harmful substances, contains three to six percent of caffeine and over ten percent (at times as high as 25 percent) of tannin. A small quantity of tannin is found in coffee also. A cup of tea or coffee contains about one to one and one-half grains of caffeine.

Caffeine has been shown since that time to be one of a series of chemical compounds known as purin derivatives. These compounds, alkaloids, are found rather widely distributed in the plant kingdom. In their chemical nature they are related to urea, a waste product of the animal body. Whether these purin derivatives, alkaloids and poisons, are the products of the disintegration of the protein substances in the plant, as the corresponding substances are formed in the animal body, is not yet known. The suggestion has been made that they serve the purpose, because of their taste and after effect, of protecting the plant against destruction by wild animals.

Three substances are of special concern in the study of “hot drinks”: caffeine and its near chemical relatives, theophylline, and theobromine. These have to some degree the same or similar physiological effects. They are usually associated in nature, though caffeine predominates in coffee and tea, and theobromine in chocolate and cocoa. The special importance of theophylline is that it is made synthetically and is no doubt often used in commercial beverages.

Effects Upon the Body and Mind. Caffeine found in tea, coffee, and other foods and drinks, is a drug, an alkaloid, related to some of the most violent of poisons. When it enters the human body, it produces at first a feeling of stimulation, followed in due course by a period of depression, relief from which is sought by the use of more caffeine. It is, therefore, habit-forming, so that the power of the will is weakened. It deceives the user into the belief that he is better off, when in fact he is laying the foundation for an increasingly worse condition. The causes that led to the taking of the drug remain just the same, for they cannot be removed by drug taking. Drugs cannot build up the body; they merely mask the truth, temporarily. Only by natural processes such as rest and proper food can fatigue be overcome and new power acquired. Like all other drugs of its class, these alkaloids– caffeine, theobromine, theophylline– fasten their hold upon the victim with a firm, unyielding grasp.

In recent years it has been found that trigonelline, which occurs in coffee to the extent of about one-fourth of one percent, may act as a poison upon people with “acid” stomach. Trigonelline is hydrolized by acids into methyl nicotinic acid, a near relative of nicotine. This acid is a poison to the human body. An “acid” stomach changes the trigonelline into this injurious acid, often with serious results. Aged and sedentary people, for this reason, if for no other, should avoid the use of coffee.

Tannic acid, found in coffee in small quantity as tannin, but in tea to a large extent, is an astringent. It is found in oakbark and is the active substance in the tanning of leather. When tannic acid is taken into the body, its astringent nature affects the lining and the contents of the stomach and intestines, tending to cause many serious disorders. A practical recognition of the injurious effect of tannic acid is the advice to steep tea quickly in hot water, so that the caffeine, which is very soluble, may go into solution, while the less soluble tannic acid in large part remains behind. Long continued steeping of tea leaves brings the tannic acid into more complete solution and makes the resulting tea a more dangerous beverage.

Coffee and tea, very much alike in their immediate physiological action, both contain dangerous drugs. Like all other such poisons, their effects differ with the quantity given and the condition of the user. A person with a sensitive nervous system or one not in full strength is affected most quickly. A small amount of a drug may give a feeling of exhilaration while a large dose may produce death. Nevertheless, the constant taking of small doses of a poisonous drug has a cumulative effect and leads eventually to disease.

The physiological effects of caffeine have been studied experimentally by many investigators, especially in Europe. All have come to practically the same conclusion. All agree that the use of caffeine-containing beverages is harmful to the body and reduces normal health. No principle laid down in the Word of Wisdom has received more complete vindication by progressing science.

Coffee and tea act directly upon the brain. A small dose of caffeine, as found in a cup of coffee, stimulates the mental powers and banishes drowsiness. Connected thought becomes more difficult, for impressions come more rapidly. However, the period of reaction and depression more than offsets the artificially induced brilliance. Throughout a period of a week, month or year, the person who depends upon normal foods, rest and play for the regeneration of the power spent in daily activity will produce more and better work than the person can possibly do who resorts to artificial unnatural stimulation to accomplish the tasks before him.

The wider effect of caffeine upon the brain was put to experimental test by Professor Storm van Leuwen, of the University of Leyden, Holland. A dog was confined in a cage which registered every movement of the animal. After a small dose of caffeine, the movements of the dog increased more than three times; and a very small dose resulted in extreme restlessness during sleep. Caffeine has the same effect upon human beings. All coffee and tea drinkers may suffer, sooner or later, and usually do so, from insomnia, irritability, loss of memory, high blood pressure, headaches and other nervous disorders.

Dr. Hawk administered coffee “over a prolonged period,” one to three times daily to 100 normal young men. The nervous system was “very definitely” and unfavorably affected and as a result the mechanical and mental efficiency of the coffee drinkers was materially lowered and they became less efficient human machines. [fn7]

The heart and circulatory system are likewise affected by caffeine. Several investigators have demonstrated that not only are the heartbeats somewhat increased after coffee or tea drinking, but there follows also an irregularity of the heart, and an increase in the blood pressure. This means that more work is placed upon the heart. The increased rate of breathing after a cup of coffee is well known to every coffee user. There is direct action also upon the muscles, which has given rise to the statement that more muscular work may be done by men under the influence of caffeine. This is true, for a brief period, but as with the apparent mental brilliance after coffee drinking, the work done over a longer period of time is greater by a non-user of caffeine.

The irritation or injurious stimulation of the kidneys by caffeine, is a major evil of coffee and tea. These delicate organs should not be unduly, improperly and frequently excited as in the case with the habitual user of coffee and tea.

The whole body is more or less directly affected unfavorably by the use of caffeine-containing drinks. It has been reported that injury to eyes and ears and various glands has come from this habit. It seems clear that normal metabolism is interfered with by caffeine, since it disturbs the equilibrium that should exist between the nervous system and the various parts of the body. Indigestion and loss of appetite are often found among coffee and tea drinkers. Coffee poisoning is a malady of frequent occurrence.

All informed persons, whether users or not of “hot drinks,” advise against allowing children the use of them, for the coffee or tea habit disturbs the nervous system, hinders nutrition and retards the normal growth and development of children. The reason, then, why the habitual adult caffeine-user does not at first suffer as much is that he possesses greater resistance, but to some degree he does suffer as does the child from the invariably injurious effects of habitual coffee and tea drinking.

Dr. L. W. Oaks calls special attention to the effect upon her child of the coffee and tea consumed by the nursing mother. The caffeine taken in by the mother is passed on in part through the mother’s milk to the infant with corresponding injury.

“Many nervous, crying babies no doubt owe their unstable and irritable temperaments to the absorption of caffeine from the milk of tea or coffee-drinking mothers.” [fn8]

The expectant mother who uses caffeine-containing beverages is laying a foundation for failure in life for the unborn child. The human misery due to the caffeine habit is beyond estimation.

The best knowledge of the day fails to produce any good argument for the use of coffee or tea or any similar habit-forming drug. The fact that many people use them or have used them is no argument in their favor. Injurious things are often consumed through ignorance or because of the wilfulness of man. Those who never acquire the habit are better off, physically, mentally and economically. Undoubtedly, the habitual use of tea and coffee shortens many thousand lives each year and is the indirect cause of much suffering and inefficiency.

Other Stimulating Beverages. The drug caffeine is found in many other plants than tea and coffee, such as yerba, mate, Cola nuts, guarana paste and yonpon tea. [fn9] Decoctions of these and similar plants are often used where found for their stimulating effects and for commercial purposes the world over. They do not bear the names coffee and tea but have the same effect, because they usually contain the same poisonous drugs.

Caffeine is separated in large quantities from the coffee bean, to make decaffeinated coffee on the one hand, and caffeine-rich soft drinks on the other. Stimulating substances of this class are also made synthetically and given fancy names. Whenever a drink is advertised to “give you a lift,” the “lift” is likely to be caused by the drug which it contains. Such soft drinks are decidedly harmful and habit-forming, even though sold by the millions. Such caffeine-containing drinks, offered by every soda fountain and most eating places, and consumed in large quantities, should be known and avoided. There is an added danger from the association of the caffeine with the syrup of the drink, for then one is apt to take much more caffeine than one would do if taking tea or coffee. Often the amount of caffeine in a portion of these drinks is larger than in a cup of strong coffee. The caffeine habit is soon developed, difficult to overcome, and body and mind are injured. Many unnecessary failures in life may be traced to the caffeine-habit as acquired elsewhere than by the use of coffee or tea.

Cocoa and Chocolate. The most common of the substances similar to caffeine widely distributed in nature and largely used by man, are the products of the cocoa bean– chocolate and cocoa. The United States consumes about 40 percent of the world’s production of cocoa beans, which with other cocoa and chocolate importations amounted in 1936 to 631,883,818 pounds, with a value in the raw state of $33,000,803. The cocoa bean contains about 50 percent of fat and varying amounts up to 3 percent of the substance theobromine, a near relative of caffeine. Cocoa is usually the ground cocoa bean from which some of the fat has been expressed. Chocolate consists of ground cocoa bean from which the fat has not been removed, mixed with white sugar, starch and flavorings. The percentage of theobromine is therefore somewhat smaller than in the bean itself. Theobromine acts upon the body, especially upon the kidneys, very much as does caffeine. While it does not have as strong an effect upon the central nervous system, it is more irritating to the kidneys. Chocolate also contains considerable fat which has food value, but which sometimes is a combination too rich for weak digestions. Chocolate contains less theobromine than cocoa, and chocolate candy still less. However, the accompanying concentrated sugary preparations used excessively, are a menace to human health. (see chapter 12) The chocolate habit, which is related to the caffeine habit, is a matter of common observation, and should be controlled. The wise person tries to emancipate himself from the use of every habit-begetting drug.

Theophylline. Theophylline, less known, is more like caffeine in all of its physiological effects. It occurs in nature in small amounts, but since it is now made synthetically at a reasonable cost, it is a factor to be considered, for it is likely to appear more and more in a variety of beverages offered the public.

Curing the Caffeine Habit. As with the alcohol and tobacco habits, so with the caffeine habit. Assuming a will directed towards the conquest of the habit, the most direct way to success is through a natural, normal life. The observation of the positive factors of the Word of Wisdom– proper food, ample sleep, exercise, recreation and righteous living– would enable a person of reasonable self-control to overcome the caffeine habit. The well-nourished body has no unnatural cravings and does not need a “lift.” (see chapters 8 to 16)

Avoid “Hot Drinks.” Caffeine, the essential principle of tea and coffee, was discovered, as a chemical substance, a few years before the Word of Wisdom was received. This knowledge was, however, buried in scientific publications. It is very unlikely that the Prophet Joseph Smith had heard of it. It was many years after 1833 that the physiological effect of caffeine was established by science. In the days of Joseph Smith, tea and coffee did not come in for the disfavor shown by some towards alcohol and tobacco. Indeed, people were often advised to use tea and coffee as a means of conquering the liquor habit.

That the expression “hot drinks” was used in the Word of Wisdom rather than “coffee and tea,” is notable; for by so doing a host of other injurious habit-forming beverages now used (or that may be used) become subject to the Word of Wisdom. Indeed, the use of the words “hot drinks” implies a knowledge beyond that possessed by man when the Word of Wisdom was received. It is remarkable indeed that Joseph Smith could so boldly declare himself against coffee and tea, as against all similar hurtful beverages, at a time when the world’s learning could not safely make the statement.

Human experience, since that day, is all against the use of coffee and tea, and similar beverages. They gradually influence harmfully the mind and the body of the user, especially if excesses are indulged in, and the tendency of the habit is to demand more and more.

W. E. Dixon, M.A., M.D., F.R.S., in an exceedingly temperate study of caffeine beverages (1930) concludes that they tend to produce a condition of neurosis and chronic dyspepsia with all the attendant evils. He says:

“If a man drinks too much spirit his condition is easily recognized, but with tea and coffee the effects are much more insidious, since they act on the brain much as strychnine acts on the spinal cord. . . . Tea and coffee drinking may be directly responsible for, or at all events a contributing cause of, a large number of neurotics, just as surely as these drinks are known to produce chronic dyspeptics; and there is reason to believe that England and America (tea and coffee-drinking countries) show a larger proportion of neurotics in their population than other civilized countries.” [fn10]

Dr. Dixon, speaking to Great Britain, suggests that the habit of drinking tea and coffee is becoming sufficiently serious to justify consideration by politicians, public health agencies and temperance societies. One of the gravest dangers accompanying the caffeine habit is the failure to recognize fully the evil until perhaps later middle life, when the harm done to the body may be beyond recovery. Caffeine addiction may seem to give immediate exhilaration, but in the end destroys the joy of life, and also does irreparable injury for the future.

It is to be emphasized that cold or iced tea and coffee come under the ban of “hot drinks”. The drug contained is just as injurious in iced as in hot coffee or tea. Moreover, iced drinks of any kind, unless drunk very slowly, may injure health.

Wise people, especially Latter-day Saints, should lay aside the caffeine-habit, if formed, and should avoid the use of all such beverages in the home, as should the whole world. True physical and mental enjoyment, and complete health cannot be won by those who are subject to the habit of drinking “hot drinks”– coffee and tea and related beverages. The waste of money alone, for unnecessary and harmful products, justifies opposition to all caffeine products except for industrial and medical purposes.

A Common Question. Those who defend the use of alcohol, tobacco, tea and coffee often ask, “If these substances are abolished by man how can the large numbers of people who will be thrown out of employment be cared for?” The most obvious answer is that moral evil is never justified by economic good. It may also be answered that the money now expended for these injurious substances would more than care for the unemployed in a state of idleness. However, such a solution is not necessary. A redirection of effort would clearly be required. Other crops and activities would have to be found, and would soon develop. Men labor for bread; the tobacco road is not the only avenue that leads to food, clothing and shelter. In our farflung society, if the will were correctly directed, such changes would soon and effectively be accomplished. If civilization has built a false structure, civilization must remedy its faults. Moreover, a new age is dawning, in which the farmer, through cooperation with the manufacturer, will find new, sound markets for present crops and many more for all that he can produce.

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

Baker, Walter & Co., Cocoa and Chocolate, 1917.

Bogert, L. J., Nutrition and Physical Fitness, 1935.

Crichton-Browne, Sir James, What We Drink, 1930.

Cushing, A. R., Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1928.

Fisher, I., and Fisk, E. L., How to Live, 1932.

Hutchinson, Food and Dietetics, 1914.

Kellogg, J. H., The New Dietetics, 1923.

Leeuwen, W. Storm van, Studien uber die Wirkung von Caffeine.

McCollum, E. V., and Becker, J. E., Food, Nutrition and Health, 1933.

Oaks, L. W., Medical Aspects of the Word of Wisdom, 1929.

Schulte, R. W., Einfluss des Kaffees auf Koerper und Geist, 1929.

Wilcox, Materia Medica and Therapeutics.

Williams, H. S., Drugs Against Men, 1935.

Wood, H. C., Therapeutics, Materia Medica and Toxicology, 1886.

Manual for Teaching the Effects of Alcohol, Stimulants and Narcotics Upon the Human Body, Department of Education, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, No. 11, 1933.

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, Footnotes

Footnotes

1. Doctrine and Covenants 89:9.

2. Johnson, J. H., A Voice from the Mountains, p. 12.

3. Documentary History of the Church, Vol. 5, p. 90.

4. Improvement Era, 4:943.

5. Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 283.

6. Williams, H. S., Drugs Against Men, 1935, p. 99.

7. American Journal of Physiology, 90:380, 1929.

8. Oaks, L. W., Medical Aspects of the Word of Wisdom, p. 102.

9. Kola contains as high as 2.00%, mate 1.25%, of caffeine.

10. Bayly, W. W., editor, What We Drink, 1930, pp. 18-19.


The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, p. 103

Chapter 8

FOOD CONSTITUENTS

“And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” [fn1]

Positive Instructions. The Word of Wisdom gives quite as many instructions as to what man shall do as to what he shall avoid, to secure and maintain health of body. These are the positive factors of this health law. It is more important to keep the body well nourished, thereby to prevent all unnatural cravings for injurious substances, than to try to cure injurious habits of food and drink once formed. “Prevention is better than cure.”

One who is poorly nourished (and malnourishment may be the lot of one whose food is too rich or unbalanced as well as of one who is too poor to buy the necessary foods for health) is greatly tempted to ease the natural craving for the right nourishment with food or drink containing deceiving drugs, such as have been discussed in earlier chapters, and which give only temporary relief with injurious after effects. A well-nourished body is the best defense against an unnatural appetite.

It happens too often that those who have refrained all their lives from the things forbidden in the Word of Wisdom, suffer from grave maladies, all too prevalent today. This must be in part, at least, the result of failure to obey the positive instructions of the Word of Wisdom, whether done willfully or ignorantly. Nature has no favorites; those who break any of the laws of health must suffer the consequences. Only when all the laws indicated in the Word of Wisdom are kept may one claim in full the promised reward that “they shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones . . . . and shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.” [fn2] How many today may really claim these precious blessings? Conscientious study and application of this law of health, including its positive directions, will permit all to do so.

This does not mean that one should be always fussing about one’s food or be conscious of every mouthful eaten. That would be a bore as well as an unhealthy attitude. It does mean that all should learn the best food practice and why certain foods are conducive to health or disease. One-third to one-half of the average family income is spent for food; it should purchase good health. If circumstances make it necessary to economize in food expenditures, it is all the more important that the money spent for food shall purchase the maximum value in the foods most necessary for growth and health. A taste for the right food may be cultivated and maintained as easily as a taste for that which is imperfect or injurious.

Scientific Confirmation. It is certainly faith-promoting to know that the latest findings within the field of nutrition, as reported in the most authoritative books, are in the main in strict accord with the teachings of the Word of Wisdom.

Reliable scientific knowledge is necessary if one is to be guided safely in this important subject. Feeding experiments with numerous foods are constantly being made, and new truths are gradually coming to light. Advancing science must be understood; then it may be shown to interpret the Word of Wisdom. It is so easy for “food fads” to creep in, and for “food quacks” to give instruction, unsupported by scientific facts, on the vital subject of food and health. On this as on all other subjects, the truth must be learned and practiced.

Necessity of Proof. Many agencies in most civilized countries are today investigating different phases of human nutrition. While many truths pertaining thereto are discovered from time to time, it is not wise to “jump at conclusions” or to accept blindly the unproven hypotheses of investigators.

Occasional statements are made by reputable scientists in opposition to some of the principles of the Word of Wisdom, but further study shows that they are not supported by well-established facts. Up to date nothing has been discovered to set at naught any truth taught in the Word of Wisdom, and if we may judge by the past, all statements made therein will in time be proved true. Members of the Church may feel safe in accepting all views concerning human welfare if and when they agree with the truths taught in this inspired document. New, well-substantiated discoveries in the field of nutrition are welcomed by Latter-day Saints and should be known by them. It is the duty of everyone to learn the facts concerning human nutrition as known today, to accept confirmed truth and to reject unfounded hypotheses, and to avoid all food fads. As new nutritional truth is discovered, it should be accepted and applied in the daily diet. It is not enough to have knowledge; one must apply and use knowledge if one would be wise.

Functions of Food. The first and most important function of food is to build and repair the tissues of which the body is composed. During the first year of life the body doubles or trebles its weight, and a gradual increase should go on to full maturity. During growth and thereafter comes wear and tear upon the body tissues from daily living. If the food is wholesome and sufficient, the body develops normally; if it is poor in quality or robbed of its vitality by being refined or “doctored” for commercial purposes, the body will probably be stunted or diseased; or both. The most obvious function of food is to supply the material needed for growth and the repair of worn out tissues.

Another function of food is to maintain body temperature. Food is burned within the body. Since blood temperature (98.6 F.) is many degrees higher than the air of an average day, it takes much energy to keep the heat of the body up to its requirement for health, especially during cold weather.

Yet another function that food performs is to furnish energy for work. Every act of life requires an expenditure of energy. The source of this energy is the food eaten. The body may be likened to a machine or engine, and the food to the fuel which feeds it. If the fuel is poor the fire burns low, in the body as in a furnace.

The Six Groups of Food Constituents. The constituents of foods are classified under the following headings: (1) proteins, (2) carbohydrates, (3) fats, (4) mineral salts, (5) vitamins, (6) water. One clever writer in this field, Mrs. Lulu Hunt Peters, has called them the “Food Sextette” which makes it easy to remember the different food classes.

(1) Proteins are the body-building foods, essential for growth and repair. They are found in meat, cheese, milk, grains (gluten or gluey substances) and vegetables. White of egg is the purest form of protein. Every day the body must have its full quota of protein foods, for the cells of the body are being constantly destroyed through the activities of life. These must be replaced if health is to continue. (see chapter 15) The amino acids which make up the natural proteins are composed of the elements hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen (the last, the characteristic element); some protein-building amino acids also contain sulphur.

(2) Carbohydrates include the starches and sugars of fruits, vegetables, and cereal grains. They are the energy or fuel foods which keep up the body temperature, and provide energy for all life processes, and for mental and physical work. The source of the fuel foods is mainly from the plant kingdom. (see chapter 12) Carbohydrates are composed of the elements hydrogen, oxygen and carbon.

(3) Fats are energy foods like the carbohydrates, but are more concentrated. They are utilized to produce heat and to supply energy for work. They probably have other, more obscure functions, for if absent from food an intense craving for them ensues. In cold countries this need seems to be imperative, but is less in warmer climates. The most used fats are butter, meat and fish fats, and vegetable oils. Animal fats are most valuable because of their content of Vitamin A. (see chapters 10 and 12) Fats, like carbohydrates, are composed of the elements hydrogen, oxygen and carbon but are very different in constitution. A fat is composed of a fatty acid and glycerine. Some of the fatty acids found in natural fats, as for example in butter, appear to be indispensable to complete health.

(4) Mineral salts are the inorganic or non-combustible portions of food, the ash or residue which remains when food is burned. Their importance in the food cannot be overestimated, for they regulate most body processes. (see chapter 9)

(5) The vitamins are essential chemical substances present in minute quantities in many foods but in varying amounts. They act as body regulators, and promote reactions without which full nutrition is impossible. When vitamins are lacking in the diet the body becomes diseased and in time perishes. Vitamins are present in most natural, fresh foods, but may be partially or even totally lacking in certain refined or preserved, or dried foodstuffs. (see chapter 10)

(6) Water is the solvent of all foods and is a part of every living cell. It may be designated a food because of its importance as a regulating substance in nutrition. It is necessary for the blood, digestive juices, and for the processes of elimination.

Only when these six food constituents are present in the daily diet in correct proportions and suitable amounts can full health be expected. Such a well balanced diet must provide: Protein, for building and repairing tissues; Carbohydrates, for producing heat and energy; Fats, for producing heat and energy, and if containing certain fatty acids, to secure in a manner not yet well understood, the nutritive welfare of man; Minerals, for building bones, teeth, blood and for regulating body fluids; Vitamins, for promoting the assimilation of foods and giving vigor to body cells and membranes; Water, for the health of every living cell and for all life processes. All natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, cereals, milk and nuts, contain all these food constituents in varying amounts. They are the storehouses of nature’s food wealth.

The positive instructions of the Word of Wisdom provide for this complete and balanced diet, as will be shown in the following chapters.

The essential thought remains, that to abstain from the things forbidden in the Word of Wisdom as injurious to health is not sufficient; it is equally important to partake of foods that build the body properly and meet bodily needs.

Men may heed the natural laws of life and live; or they may ignore or pervert them and suffer disease and finally perish. It is so written, and has been so proved throughout thousands of years of history.

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

Atwater, W., The Chemistry and Economy of Food, 1895.

Chaney, and Ahlborn, Nutrition.

Eddy, W. H., Nutrition.

Kellogg, J. H., The New Dietetics, 1923.

Lusk, G., The Science of Nutrition, 1919.

McCollum, E. V., and Becker, J. E., Food, Nutrition and Health, 1933.

McCollum, E. V., and Simmonds, N., The Newer Knowledge of Nutrition, 1925.

Rose, M. S., The Foundations of Nutrition, 1937.

Rose, M. S., Feeding the Family, 1934.

Sherman, H. C., Chemistry of Food and Nutrition, 1937.

Sherman, H. C., Food and Health, 1934.

Stanley, L., and Cline, G. A., Foods, Their Selection and Preparation, 1935.

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, Footnotes

Footnotes

1. Doctrine and Covenants 88:118.

2. Doctrine and Covenants 89:18, 19.


The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, p. 110

Chapter 9

“OUT OF THE GROUND”

“That which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground.” [fn1]

“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food;” [fn2]

“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” [fn3]

“Dust Thou Art”. This describes the body of man– not his soul. If a portion of “dust” or fertile soil be taken to the chemical laboratory and analyzed, it will be found to contain many elements, so-called, of which oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, iron, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and iodine are among the best known by name, though there are other elements equally as much a part of the soil. It is from these and other necessary elements that the body of man is formed.

Under the influence of sunlight and soil moisture, plants feed upon the inorganic constituents of air and soil. From the air they take the gas known as carbon dioxide, which supplies the element carbon, the basis of the organic or combustible portion of plants. From the soil they take water and minerals, the latter incombustible and remaining in the ash when the plant is burned. The water is the solvent by means of which nutritive materials are carried from the soil to plants and from place to place within the plants. Part of the water combines, in the process known as photosynthesis, with the carbon taken from the air to form starch. This, in turn, combines with nitrogen and other elements to form protein and the great variety of substances occurring in plant structures. In all these transformations, resulting from plant growth, the mineral substances taken from the soil, “the dust of the earth”, are indispensable. If mineral food is not available in suitable variety and quantity, the plant is stunted or fails to mature. In short, through the processes of plant growth, simple inorganic compounds are transformed into intricate and varied organic plant compounds and structures.

The complex body of man cannot use directly the elements of air and soil and is therefore dependent for its life and growth upon the substances prepared by the plant. Thus the elements of plant products– won in part from the soil– become incorporated into the body of the one who eats them. Indeed, the mineral substances necessary for life are in the main available to man only through the food which comes directly or indirectly from the plants and fruits of earth.

Composition of the Body. If the body of man be analyzed, the elements from which it is made are found to be those which exist in the air and in the soil, that is, the earth’s crust. The following comparison between the composition of the human body and that of the earth’s crust shows the close relationship existing between the body of man and “the dust of the earth”

Approximate Elementary
Composition of the Adult
Human Body
Approximate Elementary
Composition of the Earth’s
Crust with its Oceans and
Atmosphere (Clarke)
Chemical Element Percent Chemical Element Percent
Oxygen ………. 65.0 Oxygen ………. 50.02
Carbon ………. 18.0 Carbon ………. 0.18
Hydrogen …….. 10.0 Hydrogen …….. 0.95
Nitrogen …….. 3.0 Nitrogen …….. 0.03
Calcium ……… 1.5 Calcium ……… 3.22
Phosphorus …… 1.0 Phosphorus …… 0.11
Potassium ……. 0.35 Potassium ……. 2.88
Sulphur ……… 0.25 Sulphur ……… 0.11
Sodium ………. 0.15 Sodium ………. 2.36
Chlorine …….. 0.15 Chlorine …….. 0.20
Magnesium ……. 0.05 Magnesium ……. 2.08
Iron ………… 0.004 Iron ………… 4.18
Manganese ……. 0.0003 Manganese ……. 0.08
Iodine ………. 0.00004 Silicon ……… 25.80
Copper, zinc, flourine, silicon,(aluminum?) very minute amounts Aluminum …….. 7.30
Titanium …….. 0.43
Fluorine …….. 0.10
Barium ………. 0.08
Others in lesser amounts.

The inorganic elements of air and soil are built by plants into forms suitable and necessary for the use of man. Thus, all life depends upon Mother Earth. In very deed man is made of the “dust” of the earth.

Effects of Soil Upon Plant Composition. Since the mineral constituents of plants are derived from the soil, it follows that the composition of the soil will measurably determine the quantities and relative amounts of these elements in plant tissues. Plants grown on soils rich in calcium generally contain relatively more calcium. Those grown on soils containing calcium in the available form of carbonate will contain more calcium than those grown on soils in which the calcium is in the less available form of silicates. It is so with all the other essential mineral plant foods.

This matter has been tested by the artificial application of different mineral foods to the soil and noting the effects upon the composition of the crops. It has been found possible by this means to change the relative amount and the quality of all crop constituents, protein, fats and carbohydrates, also to influence size, structure, quality, flavor, resistance to disease, and reproductive power, etc. Indeed, the presence of proper mineral food in the soil produces almost spectacular results in the size and flavor of crops grown, as well as their resistance to pests and various plant diseases. [fn4]

Some soils contain mineral substances that may prove injurious to the animal body. Crops grown upon such soils are often valueless in animal nutrition. Recent investigation has shown large areas of land on which, for the above reasons, crops should not be grown for animal consumption.

Since the composition of the food eaten determines largely the effect upon the body, this subject becomes of prime nutritive interest. This whole field is somewhat new, but of vital importance. As it is explored, a new understanding of the relationship of foods to the place of origin will develop. Farmers in various localities will learn what substances to add to their soil to obtain health-giving crops.

Necessary Minerals in Foods. According to present knowledge, thirteen “mineral elements” are necessary for full health. There may be others, but if so, they are probably present in minute, though sufficient quantities in all natural foods, unless grown on impoverished soil. The mineral elements, now known to be necessary, are: Calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, sodium, potassium, sulphur, phosphorus, chlorine, iodine, zinc and possibly cobalt.

The total mineral substances in the commonly used foods vary from a small fraction of one percent to five percent or more. The proportions of the essential minerals in the total are not the same. Unless the source of the food product is known, the amount and kind of minerals in it cannot be foretold.

A diet which contains amounts of any of the necessary elements below the daily requirement cannot maintain the body in good health. One element may not be substituted for another. Each one is essential. In most fertile soils all of these are present in sufficient quantities for plant production, though potassium, chlorine, calcium, phosphorus, iron, iodine and copper must sometimes be added to the soil of certain regions for full plant production.

Drs. Greaves and Greaves and others have shown that the mineral composition of foods affect directly the composition of the body. In one experiment two kinds of wheat, one high-calcium, the other low-calcium, were fed. [fn5] In every instance the animals receiving the high-calcium wheat had more calcium and phosphorus in their bones, and more calcium and phosphorus in their blood. The relation of the mineral composition of foods to human health is a subject that should be given careful attention.

Minerals and Body Functions. Each of the essential elements promotes some life-functions. For example, calcium, which is of first and utmost importance, is found as the chief ingredient of bones and teeth. Dr. Henry C. Sherman states that:

“Calcium is in many ways the outstanding mineral element, both in the purely scientific study of the chemistry of nutrition and in the every day practical problem of meeting the nutritional needs of our own and our children’s bodies. . . . To be normal and healthy the full-grown human body must be richer in calcium than in any other mineral element; yet every human being is born calcium-poor.” [fn6]

Calcium is essential to the activity of every cell of the body– and their number runs into the billions. It is necessary in the blood; without it the heart will not beat and the muscles will refuse to function properly. Its importance in bodily functions generally is most essential. The body demands more calcium than any other mineral element, and from birth to age one must make sure that the food eaten contains its full share of this mineral. Iron is needed by the blood to enable it to become purified by the oxygen of the air and is also otherwise used. Chlorine is needed in the blood for the same reason, and for others as well. Iodine is necessary for the health of the thyroid and other glands. So indeed are all the minerals essential for bodily well-being– each has a definite purpose and place in maintaining health.

This view is reiterated by all present day reliable scientific workers in the field of nutrition. [fn7] Much illness results from the lack of certain essential mineral elements in the food of man. One should be informed on this subject because of its vast importance in human diet.

A normal adult under average conditions of activity and diet excretes daily through the organs of elimination, 20 to 30 grams (about one ounce) of mineral salts as chlorides, phosphates, sulphates, etc. This loss must be made good through the daily food or the body suffers. [fn8] Indeed it is impossible to overestimate the importance of the mineral content of food.

Minerals and Psychological Attitudes. Psychological as well as physiological effects are conditioned upon the presence or absence of certain minerals in the food. A study made by Dr. Walter Timme of the Neurological Institute was reported in an address given before the New York Academy of Medicine. He stated that:

“Crossness, tiredness, misbehavior and all the other symptoms of problem cases, both child and adult, result when the blood has too little calcium.”

When the supply of calcium is reduced:

“There is apparently a disturbing effect on the nerves and subsequent conduct of the individual who then misbehaves, showing inordinate fatigability, irritability of temper and at times even incorrigibility, non-amenability to discipline or even assaultiveness.

“Such cases are easily aroused to a high pitch of anger at the slightest provocation, a word, an insinuation or even a glance being sufficient to arouse intense antagonistic reaction. These patients became problem cases at home, at school or in whatever environment they found themselves. Occasionally, their behavior became so exaggerated that apparently hypomaniac states developed therefrom and several of these patients had to be confined in institutions until the symptoms were ameliorated. At home, a harsh word from any member of the family, at the table for instance, would result in a plate or knife or some other utensil being thrown at the aggressor. In school, a blow, a shout or a curse would be hurled at a fellow student or even at the teacher.”

A shortage of this element seems to produce abnormal functions in the:

“Relationship of the glands and nerves which are responsible for many of the drug and alcohol habitues and the easily led characters among the criminal classes.” [fn9]

There is a definite relationship between the mineral content of the food and the healthy functioning of all glands and nerves. Parents and teachers should therefore be very sure that they themselves or their so-called “naughty children” are not innocent victims of mineral shortage and improper nutrition. Many cases of so-called “nervous collapse” in adults may have some such dietary lack as the primary cause.

Shortage of Minerals. Mineral shortage in the food predisposes to many conditions of disease. The part played by phosphorus, iron, iodine and other minerals is of as great importance as that of calcium. The lack of iron is first felt in the blood and is one cause of the disease anaemia. The lack of iodine is known to upset the normal activity of the thyroid gland producing the condition known as goitre in one of its many forms. Drs. McCollum and Orent found that magnesium also plays a vital role. If it be absent in the food of rats for eleven days it would cause death in the vast majority of them. They state that:

“When magnesium is omitted from the diet, calcium and phosphorus are drained out of the body so that not enough is left to make an X-Ray picture of the rat’s skeleton.” [fn10]

Source of Minerals. Vegetables, grains and fruits form nature’s storehouse of food minerals. If grown on fertile soils all the edible plants and vegetables usually contain, in varying proportions, all the minerals vital in maintaining bodily health. For example, vegetables rich in calcium are beans, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower,

CONTENT OF MINERAL ELEMENTS IN FOODS

Foods Rich In: Other Foods
Good for Mineral Salts
Foods Poor
in Mineral Salts
Calcium Phosphorus Iodine Iron
Milk Cheese Sea Foods Egg yolk Nuts Fat Pork
Bacon
Lard and Suet
Butter
Salad Oil
Sugars
Confectionery
Purified Starches
White Flour
Cheese Egg yolk Iodized salt Leafy vegetables Legumes
Vegetables
(especially leafy ones)
Milk Vegetables,
Fruits and Grains
from non-goiterous regions
Meat
(especially liver)
Dried fruits
Egg yolk Meat Whole grains Fresh fruits,
and vegetables
Whole grains

parsnips and turnips; those rich in phosphorus are cauliflower, legumes and greens of all kinds, parsnips and potatoes; those rich in iron are legumes, nuts and nearly all greens, especially dandelion greens, spinach and cress. All grains, nuts and fruits are rich in minerals, especially in calcium, phosphorus and iron. Milk and eggs are rich in calcium and phosphorus, but poor in iron. Meat is rich in iron and phosphorus but poor in calcium. Onions are rich in iodine though sea foods are perhaps its best source. Since the proportions of minerals are not the same in all plants, the use of all edible vegetables is advisable to secure a full mineral ration.

Daily Supply of Minerals. To insure enough minerals in the diet, each adult should have daily, at least 1 pint of milk (children 1 quart), the liberal use of all vegetables in season, especially leafy ones (and always some of them raw in salads), “eggs or cheese frequently and meat occasionally but not all of them every day”, the frequent use of sea foods, fresh or canned, if in a goiterous region, and the use of whole grain breads and cereals, especially for growing children. [fn11]

A grave warning is given by students of this subject with respect to reproduction. When the food is impoverished in its mineral or vitamin content, miscarriage is apt to result even though the mother may remain in seeming health. This need is imperative and should be understood by all parents and future parents.

The Minerals Most Lacking. In the American and European diet the minerals most lacking are calcium, phosphorus, iron and iodine (in certain sections).

Most authorities agree that there is probably a greater lack of calcium than of any other chemical element. [fn12] Since milk is a ready source of calcium it has been said that to be unable to take milk is a dietetic tragedy! There should be an ample supply of green leafy vegetables as well.

In the sections of the country where iodine is lacking in the soil (and the Great Basin of North America and portions of the Rocky Mountain area are two such sections), the food should contain some supplemental source of iodine. The American Medical Association’s Committee on Foods has approved iodized salt for general use. Most scientific opinion agrees that iodized salt can be safely used and is a convenient means of meeting the nutritional need of iodine. [fn13] This advice is for normal people; those with an abnormal thyroid gland should use iodine only on the advice of a reliable physician.

One should study the subject of food minerals and be wise in applying it to the personal and family food supply.

The Teeth as an Index. Mineral starvation is felt throughout the entire body and character, as indicated, but it shows itself definitely in the structure and composition of the teeth. It is most important that the pregnant mother shall have foods that contain the necessary minerals, else the babe comes into life with a severe handicap. Few people realize that the first set of teeth begins to form during the fourth month of pregnancy, and is completely formed at birth, though embedded in the jaws. Also, that during the seventh month of pregnancy, the foundations are laid for the second or permanent set of teeth. If the mother does not get her full quota of calcium and other minerals in her food, nature provides that the child shall rob the mother– hence the frequent experience of women’s tooth trouble during pregnancy. These truths apply to the child’s and mother’s bony structure as well as to the teeth.

Teeth are an index of correct feeding. It is not enough to keep them clean and visit the dentist often– though that is certainly desirable– yet if the teeth are not properly nourished by wholesome food of full mineral and vitamin content they will decay in spite of the very best dental care. Savages and “nature people” do not know what a tooth brush is, yet they have hard, white, solid teeth– until they begin to use civilized man’s food. Then they, too, have the experience of tooth decay as do the white men. Our forefathers had little need of dentists or tooth pastes.

Acid and Alkaline Foods. The question of minerals in the diet concerns also the acid or alkaline reactions of the body fluids. The ash that remains when plant or animal substances are burned in the laboratory contains the mineral matter of the foods. This ash may be acid or alkaline in its reaction, depending on the predominance of acid-or base-forming substances, in turn depending on the kind of food eaten. Organic substances are also formed during metabolic processes which, if acid, may be neutralized by alkaline mineral substances. Therefore, whether foods are to be classified as acid-forming or base-forming (alkaline)– a matter of great importance– depends in part upon the nature of the mineral matter in the food. The blood must be kept just on the alkaline side, for then it is conceded to be most resistant to infections and other unnatural conditions.

The dangers from eating too freely of acid-forming foods are two fold. First, the kidneys are overworked when required to handle too many of the acid by-products of digestion; second, the calcium carbonate of the bones and teeth as well as the basic substances of the tissues are attacked in neutralizing acids that may predominate in the body. Thus, acid-forming foods may in reality rob, not nourish the body. Another reason for keeping the body on the alkaline side is that then the food minerals are less likely to be excreted and are more completely utilized in the processes of metabolism. It has been found also that neither muscles nor nerves will perform their work properly unless bathed in tissue fluids which contain ample mineral constituents in their proper proportions. Indeed, the possession of the much prized vim, vigor and vitality seems to depend as much upon the maintenance of the “alkali reserve” of the body as upon the presence of ample vitamin B. [fn14] Yet it must be understood that there must be “balance” in the body; it is as dangerous to have the food too alkaline as too acid. All food must be eaten with understanding and in moderation.

The alkaline, or base-forming foods are: most fruits and vegetables (especially beans, spinach, beets, carrots, parsnips, and white potatoes,) nuts, raisins, and milk. [fn15] The following foods have been found to be very efficient in reducing body acidity: Apples, bananas, melons, citrus fruits and potatoes. From fruits and vegetables should be chosen the bulk of the food in order to keep the body chemically right, for they are important sources of necessary minerals and vitamins.

Acid-forming foods are: eggs, meat, poultry, fish (especially oysters and other shell fish), bread of all kinds, including crackers, macaroni, spaghetti and noodles, cereals, rice, pastry of all kinds and especially candy and sweets. This list also includes tea, coffee, cocoa, chocolate. It may be noted that very often the acid-forming foods form the greater portion of the modern dietary. Health may be seriously impaired thereby if the practice is long continued, for the body functions best when the alkaline-forming foods predominate.

Acid fruits such as citrus fruits are sometimes avoided for fear that they may cause “acidity”. This is not the case, for when digested and used by the body they leave an alkaline residue which is distinctly acid-reducing, and helps to neutralize the acid residues of protein and other acid-formers. For this reason many people have found that “a lemon a day keeps the doctor away”– taken with plenty of water, of course. All citrus fruits are valuable alkalinizers as well as being rich sources of vitamin C. In many cases where people suffer from nettlerash from eating certain fruits, it has been found that these fruits could be eaten more freely if wholemeal bread and flour and other foods which contain more minerals, were substituted for the highly refined foods. [fn16]

The practice of the principles indicated in the Word of Wisdom provides all the necessary mineral elements necessary for full health.

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

Bogert, L. J., Nutrition and Physical Fitness, 1935.

Chaney, and Ahlborn, Nutrition.

Hartwell, B. L., Influence of Fertilizers on Crop Quality, 1932.

MacLeod, and Nason, Chemistry and Cookery.

McCollum, E. V., Recent Advances in Nutritional Research, 1937.

McCollum, E. V., and Becker, J. E., Food, Nutrition and Health, 1934.

Mitchell, H. H., and McClure, F. J., Mineral Nutrition of Farm Animals, 1937.

Plimmer, R. H. A., Food, Health, Vitamins.

Rose, M. S., Foundations of Nutrition, 1927.

Sherman, H. C., Chemistry of Food and Nutrition, 1937.

Sherman, H. C., Food and Health, 1934.

Science Supplement, Oct. 18, 1929 and Nov. 8, 1929.

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, Footnotes

Footnotes

1. Doctrine and Covenants 89:16.

2. Genesis 2:7, 8, 9.

3. Ibid., 1:29.

4. Hartwell, Influence of Fertilizers on Crop Quality, 1932. Read also article by Rex Beach in Hearst’s International-Cosmopolitan for June, 1936 and quoted in Reader’s Digest for January, 1937.

5. Greaves, J. E. and E. O., Nutrition Value of High and Low Calcium Carrying Wheat, 1933; Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 6, No. 2.

6. Sherman, H. C., Food and Health, 1934, pp. 89-100, Macmillan Company.

7. McCollum, E. V., and Becker, J. E., Food, Nutrition and Health, chapter 10, 1934.

8. Sherman, H. C., Chemistry of Food and Nutrition, 1937, p. 244.

9. Science, Supplement, Oct. 18, 1929. Undoubtedly with a mineral shortage as quoted, there would be other factors of malnutrition present.

10. Science, Supplement, Nov. 8, 1929.

11. Bogert, L. J., Nutrition and Physical Fitness, pp. 174-198, 1935.

12. Sherman, H. C., Chemistry of Food and Nutrition, 1937, p. 279; Sherman, H. C., Food and Health, 1934, p. 93.

13. Sherman, H. C., Chemistry of Food and Nutrition, 1937, p. 344.

14. Bogert, L. J., Nutrition and Physical Fitness, pp. 98, 189, 192.

15. McCollum and Becker, Food, Nutrition and Health, pp. 113, 114.

16. Plimmer, R. H. A., Food, Health, Vitamins, p. 80.


 

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, p. 126

Chapter 10

“ALL WHOLESOME HERBS”

“And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man– as also the fruit of the vine, that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground.” [fn1]

Definition of “Herbs”. The word “herb” was frequently used a century ago to include plants and vegetables, direct products of the soil. The dictionary defines it to be: “a plant that dies completely, or down to the ground, after flowering”. Also, “an herbaceous plant used medicinally”. As used in the Word of Wisdom it was undoubtedly meant to include all plants the use of which is good for man. The modifying words “all wholesome” indicate that all edible vegetables and fruits of earth are included in the term; they also indicate that some “herbs” are not fitted to be used as food.

Composition of Vegetables and Fruits. It was shown early in the history of plant science, but after the Word of Wisdom was received, that plants contained all of the necessary food substances: Proteins (flesh-formers), fats, starches and other carbohydrates, minerals and water. Much later, as will be shown, it was discovered that the plant kingdom is the best source of the sixth necessary group of food substances, vitamins.

Water is present in large proportions in most vegetables. Young plants often contain more than 90% of water– that is above the proportion in whole milk.

The proportion of the necessary food substances varies greatly in different plants. The mineral content depends on the composition of the soil where plants are grown. Therefore, to secure the best results, vegetables should be so selected as to insure a balanced diet. This requires a knowledge of the composition of the vegetables usually consumed. The following tables show the proximate composition of the edible portions of a few well-known vegetables and fruits:

COMPOSITION OF VEGETABLES

Carbohydrates
Water Protein Fat Ash Total Fibers Sugars Starch Calories
per lb.
Asparagus 93.0 2.2 0.2 0.67 3.9 0.7 1.24 0.4 120
Lima Beans 66.5 7.5 0.8 1.71 23.5 1.5 595
Soy Beans 64.7 12.4 6.3 2.2 14.4 2.2 325
Red Beets 87.6 1.6 0.1 1.11 9.6 0.9 205
Cabbage 92.4 1.4 0.2 0.75 5.3 1.0 3.5 130
Carrots 88.2 1.2 0.3 1.02 9.3 1.1 7.5 205
Celery 93.7 1.3 0.2 1.08 3.7 0.7 1.25 100
Onions 87.5 1.4 0.2 0.58 10.3 0.8 6.7 0.5 220
Potatoes 77.8 2.0 0.1 0.99 19.1 0.4 0.87 14.7 385

(From “Proximate Composition of Fresh Vegetables,” Charlotte Chatfield and Georgean Adams, Circular 146, U. S. Dept. of Agriculture)

Some vegetables used for human food contain a considerable proportion of starch. Fruits, on the other hand, contain little starch but relatively much sugar. Most fruits also contain small quantities of organic acid. (Malic acid indicated by “m” and citric acid indicated by “c” in the following table.)

It is evident that vegetables and fruits contain all the necessary food substances, and that they are rich in minerals. They are also the best sources of all vitamins. It is now conceded that vegetables and fruits are of first importance in maintaining full health.

COMPOSITION OF FRUITS

Carbohydrates
Water Protein Fat Ash Total Fiber Sugars Acid Calories
per lb.
Apples 84.1 0.3 0.04 0.29 14.9 1.0 11.1 0.47m 290
Apricots 85.4 1.0 0.10 0.59 12.9 0.6 10.4 1.19m 255
Bananas 74.8 1.2 0.2 0.84 23.0 0.6 19.2 .39m 445
Oranges 87.2 0.9 0.2 0.47 11.2 0.6 8.65 .78c 230
Peaches 86.9 0.5 0.1 0.47 12.0 0.6 8.78 .64m 230
Pears 82.7 0.7 0.4 0.39 15.8 1.4 8.90 .29c 315
Strawberries 90.0 0.8 0.6 0.50 8.1 1.2 5.27 1.09c 185
Watermelons 92.1 0.5 0.2 0.27 6.9 0.6 6.00 .03m 140

(From “Proximate Composition of Fresh Fruit,” Charlotte Chatfield and Laura I. McLaughlin, Circular 50, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture)

The Provident Earth. The great Builder of the earth provided well for the physical needs of His children. Countless varieties of edible plants, vegetables, cereals, fruits and nuts are yielded by Mother Nature for man’s daily food; some furnish one predominating food element, some another, each filling some need of the human structure, each contributing to man’s complete well-being. All vegetables and fruits have drawn upon the “dust of the earth”, have combined the necessary mineral elements so that when eaten by man they may become a part of his body structure, as bricks in a wall, or as promoters of proper metabolism, to secure his health.

Variety Necessary. Man should partake in plenty of all edible fruits and vegetables. It is a mistake for a normal person to say: “I don’t like this vegetable or that”, and refuse to eat it. Children should be taught from the weaning period to eat and enjoy all the different kinds of vegetables (prepared in milk soups at first), so that their bodies may grow in bone strength and nerve tone as well as in size. This practice should be encouraged in adults as well, for all have need of the nutritive value of fruits and vegetables. One should insist that every vegetable to be found in the market forms some part of a week’s food supply.

Many delicious vegetables grown in other countries would add greatly to the American diet, such as the kohl-rabi (a variety of cabbage which grows like a turnip, but above the ground) used largely on the continent of Europe. Rutabagas are among the most valuable vegetables grown but are not used as they deserve. One should be familiar with and help create a demand for all kinds of vegetables. The farmers will produce what people call for. It is a great pity for an individual, a family or a nation, to confine its taste to two or more vegetables. Meat, potatoes and cabbage (or sprouts or cauliflower) may make a good meal occasionally, but served every day they produce a very one-sided diet. Dr. Mottram says:

“We have all met and hated the persons who, with a tone of conscious rectitude and insufferable worth, assure us that they “never touch” some specified food. It is a dietetic vice, not a virtue, to exclude things from your diet.” [fn2]

The chief special value of fruit and vegetables in the diet is that they contain the valuable mineral salts and vitamins (see chapters 9 and 11). For this reason they greatly stimulate appetite and digestion; they produce vigor and resistance to disease; the regulating effect of the acid-alkaline reactions on the body function is increased, and partly because of their fiber and roughage they promote intestinal health and hence the well-being of the entire body.

Fruits are of further value because of their appetizing quality. Their varied color, aroma and flavor make them most stimulating to the senses of sight and smell as well as taste. As is well known, food which appeals to the senses becomes more appetizing and thus actually aids digestion. Insipidity is an actual, physiological defect in food. The vitamins, salts and juices of fruits stimulate the flow of gastric juice and with the indigestible fiber directly aid the peristaltic action of the intestinal muscles.

Most fruits should be eaten raw, fully ripe, and “in the season thereof”, for reasons explained in chapter 11. Fruits and vegetables should be eaten in liberal amounts by young and old, and with grain products should form the bulk of the human dietary.

Live and Learn. Some one may object and say: “Well, our forefathers did not have all these fancy varieties of food, yet they fared pretty well.” Did they? Could they have fared better? It is a fact that in the good old days in some countries flocks and herds formed the bulk of the people’s food; in the autumn the animals which couldn’t be fed over the winter were killed and their flesh salted, smoked or otherwise preserved. But in those good (?) old days, periodic ravages of sickness and death swept the land like a devastating fire. Scurvy was so prevalent in London that it was called “London disease”. And who has not heard of the great plagues of history, the hideous “black death,” cholera, and countless others? We are now beginning to understand that not a few of these diseases had their origin in wrong food and other faulty habits of life.

It is interesting to know how mankind generally has learned to eat. The custom of eating green salads was introduced into England by Catherine of Aragon, the Spanish wife of Henry VIII. She imported a Dutch gardener, as salad-growing in England at that time was an unknown art. Up to the present day green salads have never been as popular in Britain as on the Continent or in America, though their use is increasing.

Sir Walter Raleigh is supposed to have introduced the potato plant into England in Elizabethan times, but it was a much later date before potatoes were extensively used for human food. For generations after their introduction they were looked upon as pig food and were eaten only by people who were too poor to buy other foods. Likewise, today many first-class vegetables used in America are unknown in Europe and vice versa. [fn3]

In such manner have food customs developed; and by using knowledge it may be possible to improve the diet and eventually to help stamp out disease.

Cooking of Vegetables. Many vegetables may be eaten raw as salads with profit to the teeth as well as the general health. Such are lettuce, cress, cabbage, carrots, celery, young peas, turnips, rutabagas and many others. The root vegetables may be cut very fine or grated. In this manner may the necessary elements of earth come to man in their purity.

Most starchy foods taste better and are more easily digested when cooked, but the cooking should be done in such a way that the mineral and other nutritive elements are not destroyed or thrown away. Much of the mineral content of fruits and some vegetables is found near the skin; for that reason, if possible, the skin should be eaten. Especially is this true of the potato which should never be peeled but either baked and the skins eaten, or boiled with the skins on, then mashed or riced if desired, and the cooking water used in soups.

Vegetables should not be allowed to soak in water, for their minerals and vitamins are usually soluble, and thus wasted in the water commonly thrown away; neither should the cooking water when vegetables are boiled, be thrown away, for the same reason. One writer has said that if kitchen sinks and garbage cans had hearts and lungs they would be the best fed animals in captivity! The solutions obtained when vegetables are cooked should be saved and served with the vegetables or used for sauces or soups.

Vegetables should be prepared only when ready to use; soaking should be unnecessary. If cut fine most vegetables will cook in from 5 to 20 or 30 minutes. Care must be taken not to overcook them as this destroys their vitamins as well as changes their delicate flavor. They should be cooked with a minimum of water, or better cooked in a double boiler, or the waterless way, and the whole served together. Familiar to every one are the sloppy, tasteless, colorless vegetables of the average cook which often look to be a “tangle of brown weeds and they will taste like vegetable matter spread on paper and horsehair.” [fn4] Alas, this description fits the cooking of vegetables in many homes and hotels. It is not to be wondered at that most children and many adults dislike vegetables, for they are often so poorly cooked that their natural flavor is changed beyond recognition.

In contrast are the properly cooked peas, beans, spinach or asparagus which resemble little bunches of jade-green goodness as delicious as a breath of fresh clean air. Each vegetable has a distinct flavor and when properly cooked should be enjoyed as a real epicurean delight. They ought to be so well cooked that, as in France, they may serve as a delicious course by themselves rather than as negligible additions to the meal.

Soda should never be used in the cooking of vegetables for it destroys the vitamins and makes the food tasteless. [fn5] If cooked quickly with little or no water, all vegetables will retain both flavor and color.

Roughage in Vegetables. It is necessary to have bulk and indigestible material in food to promote normal peristalsis of the alimentary tract and evacuation of the bowels. “This is true for all normal people over nine months of age.” [fn6] Such a prevention or cure of the bug-bear of “stasis” in the large intestine or constipation should come from natural foods.

The tables near the beginning of this chapter show that fruits and vegetables contain relatively large proportions of cellulose, or crude fiber. This does not dissolve to any large extent in the alimentary tract, but serves the important purpose of furnishing bulk, which together with vitamin B (see chapter 11) is necessary to overcome the common and serious ailment of constipation. (see chapter 13)

The Question of Fat. The value in the diet of the fats of the plant and animal kingdom must not be overlooked. Edible fats and oils are valuable energy foods, and perform other distinct functions in nutrition. Recent researches show that one or more of the fatty acids which are normal constituents of natural fats, such as butter, are actually indispensable in complete nutrition. Linoleic acid, for example, is reported by McCollum and Becker to be necessary for an adequate diet. [fn7] A chief value of fats is the warmth yielded when burned in the body; hence their direct need in cold regions. Secondly, they tend to delay the rate of digestion, which results in a feeling of well-being and satisfaction, since pangs of hunger are felt when the stomach is empty. On the other hand when fat is mixed with protein or starch it may become a menace for it takes as long as six hours before the stomach is emptied. Fats further add much to the flavor of different foods. The yellow animal fats also contain vitamin A which is necessary for complete nutrition. The fact that fats generally have 2 1/4 times as much fuel value as sugars and starches indicates that they must be used with intelligence.

Except in the coldest climates the fat in the diet must always be balanced with starch and sugar. That is, fats should be eaten in a definite ratio with carbohydrate foods. Without such balance the fat is incompletely burned, which gives rise to injurious substances known as acetone bodies. This condition causes a feeling of nausea, or general illness, and may induce the so-called bilious attack. The “morning sickness” of pregnancy is largely a result of this disturbed balance. During pregnancy, fats should be confined if possible to those containing vitamin A, and starches and “sweets” should be increased in moderation. During the nursing period, however, starches and sweets as well as fats should be curtailed in the mother’s diet and the mineral and vitamin bearing foods increased. [fn8]

There are other disadvantages in a too free use of fat in the diet. Its digestion, which is not affected by the gastric juice, must wait until it passes out of the stomach. The slow emptying of the stomach may aggravate or even cause the fermentation of starchy and sweet foods and the putrefaction of protein foods. The fat forms a coating over the starch or protein particles, which is penetrated by the digestive juices with difficulty. This, in the presence of the warmth and moisture of the alimentary tract, also favors fermentation and putrefactive changes. Therefore, pastry and rich foods which are mixtures of fat and starch or sweets are always difficult of digestion. Excessive use of fats leads to indigestion and liver trouble. Another factor is that, with the exception of butter and the yellow animal fats, they lack vitamins, mineral salts and fiber. Vegetable oils, bacon and lard contain no vitamins.

A warning must also be given regarding the use of fried foods. When brought to a high temperature some of the fat is apt to be broken down into substances irritating to the alimentary tract. If properly cooked, fried foods may be eaten in moderation. However, they should be left out of the diet of children altogether. Butter and cream, the yellow fats of meat, with a minimum of salad oil, should form the chief supply of fat in the diet.

Vegetarianism. A discussion of vegetables and fruits as foods would not be complete without a comment on vegetarianism. Modern research has shown as already indicated that all of the necessary food constituents are found in plants. From that point of view, vegetarianism should be practicable. However, studies of the protein or flesh-forming constituents of plant and animal foods, point to the conclusion that it may be desirable to include some animal protein– milk, eggs, meat– in the human dietary. This conforms to the dictum in the Word of Wisdom that meat may be used sparingly.

In fairness, it must be said that many vegetarians have lived well and happily to a ripe old age. The possibility of subsisting wholly on non-animal products cannot be denied. Man may live entirely upon the products of the soil, and do effective work and attain a high age. But such a diet is probably inadvisable for one who does hard physical work, unless the vegetable proteins are chosen carefully and wisely.

The suggestion has been made that the capacity of the human stomach makes it difficult to supply the body with the necessary protein from somewhat bulky vegetables. However, the legumes and the grains contain as much protein per pound as meat, though in all probability vegetable proteins are less rapidly digested than meat proteins.

Whether vegetarianism is successful depends no doubt upon the intelligent skill with which vegetable food products are selected and combined in the human dietary.

However, for temperate and cold climates, most nutrition experts agree that meat, used sparingly, should be included in the human dietary.

The Word of Wisdom Confirmed. When the Word of Wisdom was given in 1833, plant chemistry had scarcely been born. A number of plants had been studied for the medicinal, stimulating or toxic substances they contained. There was no certain knowledge at the time that all the substances necessary for the maintenance of life were found in plants, except as certain vegetarians had succeeded in living on a wholly vegetarian diet. A number of years after the revelation was received, it was demonstrated by scientific methods that all known substances required for the nutrition of the animal body were found in varying proportions in all plants, and that plants might therefore be used for human food unless they contained in addition, injurious substances, as for example, caffeine in the coffee bean. Moreover it was shown that fruits and vegetables are of chief value in maintaining human health. This was in direct confirmation of the statement in the Word of Wisdom that “all wholesome herbs are ordained for the constitution, nature and use of man.” The Word of Wisdom is again confirmed by science.

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

Alcott, W. A., Vegetable Diet, 1849.

Baily, Food Products, Their Source, Chemistry and Use, 1928.

Berg, Ragnor, Alltaegliche Wunder, 1929.

Bogert, L. J., Nutrition and Physical Fitness.

Chittenden, R. H., Physiological Economy in Nutrition, 1904.

Cornaro, L., The Art of Living Long (Butler Edition).

Davis, A., Optimum Health, 1936.

Eddy, W. H., Nutrition, 1928.

Hindhede, M., Fuldkommen Sundhed, 1934.

Lefevre, Jules, A Scientific Investigation Into Vegetarianism.

Mottram, V. H., Food and the Family.

Rose, M. S., Feeding the Family.

Sansum, W. D., The Normal Diet, 1930.

Sherman, H. C., Food and Health.

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, Footnotes

Footnotes

1. Doctrine and Covenants 89:10, 16.

2. Mottram, V. H., Food and the Family, footnote on p. 17, Nisbet and Co.

3. Plimmer, R. H. A., Food, Health, Vitamins, p. 2.

4. Bogert, Nutrition and Physical Fitness, p. 115.

5. Eddy, W. H., Nutrition, p. 190, 1928; Rose, M. S., The Foundations of Nutrition, p. 288

6. Mottram, Food and The Family, p. 76.

7. McCollum, E. V. and Becker, J. E., Food, Nutrition and Health, 1933, pp. 5 and 8.

8. Davis, Adele, Optimum Health, 1936, p. 103; Mottram, V. H., Food and the Family, 1928, pp. 18-19, 70-71.


 

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, p. 138

Chapter 11

“IN THE SEASON THEREOF”

“Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof.” [fn1]

The Lesson of History. The above statement implies definitely that man should add to his dietary fresh foods, as they come from nature’s laboratory– “in the season thereof.” Evidently there was some good reason for the statement, but until the last few decades the scientific explanation was not known.

Throughout the long ages of history, man has unconsciously made of his body an experimental laboratory for testing the values of the variety of foods. It has been found that people to whom food has been plentiful with fresh food available have lived long and well; while others– those traveling at sea, for instance, or in overpopulated lands– have suffered the ravages of incomplete nutrition, with many resulting diseases.

A few generations ago mariners discovered that the eating of “fresh” foods, especially lemons, prevented the dread disease scurvy, though they did not know why. More recently, as men found that foods when refined could be stored and transported over long distances without spoiling, certain other diseases have developed. In Japan where the diet is now chiefly polished rice, a form of nerve disease and general paralysis has become more and more prevalent. Recently it has been found that if fed the “polishings” of the rice before the disease was too far advanced, it could be cured. If this were not done, death would ensue. [fn2]

Then, scientists began to investigate the subject thoroughly so that these observations might be understood. It was found that if man tries to live only on refined foods, commercially prepared, he soon becomes subject to disease and death. If he adds to his diet natural foods, as they come from Mother Earth, he may live long and be strong.

It is now known that there are substances in fresh foods which, if present, bring health and, if absent, cause disease and ultimate death. These vital substances have been named vitamins. This was a major discovery of modern nutritional science; one that confirms fully the doctrine of the Word of Wisdom that fruits and vegetables should be eaten “in the season thereof”.

Vitamins. These are a group of chemical entities which act as body regulators, the composition of which is now becoming known. They are chemical compounds, not living things, produced in plants; when found in animals they have been stored, sometimes with certain modifications, from plant food. They act in the body much as the substances known as catalysts act in chemical reactions: They hasten changes merely by their presence. In other words, vitamins seem to make it possible for the constituents of foods to nourish properly every part of the body and to secure normal action of the organs of the body; when not present the body may not function properly. They are essential for the complete utilization of the mineral salts so necessary in maintaining complete well-being.

At present six vitamins are known to have distinct physiological functions. These are designated as vitamins A, B, or B1, C, D, E, and G or B2. As experiments continue and discoveries multiply, others may be found, or it may be shown that what is now considered a single vitamin is in reality two or more, each with specific functions.

The existence of these definite substances in foods and their need in complete nutrition cannot longer be doubted or ignored. Numerous experiments in well equipped nutrition laboratories throughout all civilized countries have determined the definite functions and distinct properties of these health preservers. While vitamins form only one of several factors of good diet, their presence is an absolute essential, and should be understood by all who desire abundant health. They are necessary for promoting growth, for preventing various infections, for stimulating the health of nerves and glands, for maintaining normal heart action and circulation, for preventing constipation with its train of bodily ills, for the normal functioning of reproduction and lactation, and undoubtedly for many other physiological needs.

Much of the present-day knowledge concerning the action of the different vitamins has been gained through experiments on small, laboratory animals, the life cycle of which is so brief that certain effects of diet, on many generations, may be observed during a relatively short time. Pigeons, guinea pigs, rabbits and dogs are used, but the rat is the most common laboratory animal, since it eats the same kind of food as man (if obtainable) and is subject to most of the diseases that afflict man. The determination of right and wrong diets for human beings has been and is being greatly aided by the many nutrition laboratories of this and other countries, in which not only chemical studies, but actual feeding experiments have been conducted and are still in progress.

Naturally, it is inexpedient to experiment with human beings until preliminary studies have been made on the lower animals. Nevertheless, in many instances men have volunteered for feeding experiments, and in countless other cases have been involuntary subjects of nutritional experiments.

All vitamins are of equal importance in the diet, and one may not be substituted for another as is often done with different foods. If any one of the vitamins is absent from the food supply for a brief period, or if there is even a shortage of them, a serious physiological deficiency results. If one were omitted entirely, death would ensue in a short time. Each one should be taken in the food every day, for most of them cannot be stored for any length of time. The absence of vitamins may not be the only cause of the so-called deficiency diseases, but it is one of the chief contributing causes.

In communities where good natural food is available, deficiency diseases are rare. They are often associated with poverty; but unfortunately they are also common today amongst all classes because the food used by many careless or uninformed modern civilized people yields a shortage, in greater or lesser degree, of the different vitamins and minerals. This is too often due to ignorance of the facts of nutrition, as well as to an unnatural or perverted appetite; or to the desire of unscrupulous persons to profit by sales of devitalized foods.

At present the specific function of most of the vitamins is known, with an increasing understanding of their role in life processes. Their function is no longer one of mystery or guesswork, but is a demonstrated, accepted scientific fact. [fn3] Some of them have been isolated and studied chemically as well as physiologically; a few have been artificially prepared in the laboratory. International vitamin standards and units have been formulated and accepted, and most natural foods have been listed as to their vitamin content.

Vitamin A. This is sometimes called the anti-infective vitamin, for it contributes to the health of the entire mucous membrane, lining all body cavities– such as the eye, nose, sinus, mastoid antrum, middle ear, throat, lungs, alimentary canal, gall bladder, kidneys, and all other internal parts of the body. [fn4] When a sufficient quantity of vitamin A is taken in the food the power of this membrane to withstand the onslaught of the myriad harmful bacteria which are everywhere present is increased and one is said to possess a high resistance to disease. In the absence or shortage of vitamin A, disease germs may more easily gain a foothold in some part of this lining surface and there do their deadly work.

One of the first evidences of the lack of this vitamin in the young is the stunted body due to loss of full power of growth, together with an increased susceptibility to colds and other infections. Under a definite shortage of vitamin A, any susceptible organ of the body, especially the lungs and eyes, may prove the “weak spot” and furnish the breeding ground for harmful bacteria. A prolonged shortage will cause the eyes to become inflamed, resulting in the disease, xerophthalmia, and if not checked, actual blindness may ensue. One is also susceptible to pneumonia and other lung disorders where there is a lack of vitamin A. While a shortage of this vitamin is most serious for the young whose bodies are in the process of growth, yet the adult is also in danger from its lack.

The precursor of vitamin A is carotene which is widely distributed especially in yellow and green plants. From this the animal makes vitamin A which is stored in its own fats and liver. Vitamin A is soluble in fat, and was at first called “fat-soluble A”.

The best sources, therefore, are fish liver oils, fresh butter or cream, egg fat, egg yolk (where cows and chickens have been fed on green food), kidney, the yellow fats of animals, and the green and yellow vegetables and fruits. However, spinach has been found to contain three times as much vitamin A as butter; while escarole, kale and parsley contain even more than spinach. Other “greens” such as turnip and beet tops, chard and dandelion greens are quite as good as spinach. These vegetables as well as broccoli, carrots, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cress, and raw cabbage, are greatly needed in the diet, because of their vitamin A and mineral content. Apricots are especially good. It is easy to remember that yellow animal fats, yellow fruits and yellow and green vegetables are generally good sources of Vitamin A. The vegetable fats, olive, almond, cottonseed oils, and vegetable margarine are deficient in vitamin A. Animal margarine may contain it, but if margarine is eaten it should be guaranteed to contain an adequate amount of vitamin A.

When any fat is allowed to become rancid, the vitamin is destroyed.

If foods containing this vitamin are heated in the presence of air, or with soda, vitamin A is destroyed; in the absence of air it is injured less, unless heated too long or under pressure, as in the pressure cooker.

An excess of this vitamin need not be feared, for it may be stored in the body for future use– witness the fish-livers which contain vitamin A, obtained by the fish from the eating of green marine plants. One nutrition authority has estimated that thirty times more of this vitamin than is generally taken would add greatly to general human health and resistance to disease. Especially is this true for children.

Vitamin B or B1. Vitamin B and also vitamins C and G are soluble in water and are therefore spoken of occasionally as “water-soluble vitamins” (see vitamin G). Vitamin B seems to have the power of keeping the nerves of the body normal so that they may function properly. Since it is necessary for the promotion of nerve health, it tends to prevent nerve diseases and is therefore often called the anti-neuritic vitamin.

The chief functions of vitamin B in the diet are to stimulate the appetite, to improve the assimilation of food by strengthening the nerves, to build muscle tone throughout the entire alimentary tract, to strengthen the heart and improve the circulation, and to increase resistance to nervous diseases. It is also active in stimulating the metabolism of carbohydrates, for where vitamin B is lacking, sugar tolerance is lowered and glucose and lactic acid in the tissues are increased. [fn5] One of its important functions is to aid normal reproduction and to increase the power of mothers to nurse their young. Its close relationship to the nutritional welfare of the child before and after birth makes it essential in the mother’s food during pregnancy and the period of lactation. One reason why young mothers today are unable to nurse their babies as did their grandmothers is probably because of the shortage of this vitamin in the refined foods of the day.

Clearly, vitamin B is a substance of tremendous value in the preservation of human health. Indeed it is impossible to overestimate the need of diets containing an ample supply of vitamin B.

Countless experiments on animals, and experience with human beings, prove that a deficiency of vitamin B in the food causes some of the most serious and common ills with which modern man is afflicted. Its definite and prolonged shortage causes the dread disease beri-beri which is so common in the Orient and wherever people live on white refined foods. Its complete absence causes paralysis and in a short time death ensues. Dr. Plimmer, professor of chemistry in the University of London, says:

“This disease occurs mainly amongst the rice-eating peoples of the East, but it has also developed in Australia, the United States, Europe, and many other parts of the world. It is not confined to the tropics, nor to rice-eaters. There are many examples of the occurrence of beri-beri in countries in which white flour is the staple cereal food. It has also been observed in parts of Brazil where manioc or tapioca is the chief food. All kinds of white carbohydrate foods are concerned in the causation of beri-beri.” [fn6]

People with a vitamin B shortage are often afflicted with nervous instability, neuralgia and neuritic pains. Stomach ulcers, appendicitis, and rheumatoid arthritis are also associated with a definite shortage of vitamin B. Dr. Plimmer states that:

“A variety of chronic diseases start with constipation and a lowered resistance to infection. Rowlands had evidence that chronic rheumatoid arthritis owed its origin to the passage of ‘bacillus coli’ into the tissues through the degenerated wall of the intestine consequent upon a long continued slight shortage of vitamin B in the ordinary diet.” [fn7]

“. . . It is erroneous to conclude that there is plenty of vitamin B1, in the diet of Europeans because the paralysis, regarded as typical of beri-beri is seldom seen. Indigestion, constipation, colitis, headache, anaemia, unhealthy skin, subnormal temperature, endocrine insufficiency, heart trouble, which McCarrison associated with shortage of vitamin B1, are all such common ailments as to suggest that the majority of people suffer from a shortage of this vitamin.” [fn8]

The increasing prevalence of constipation and diseases of the alimentary tract are definite evidences of a shortage of vitamin B in the modern diet. The increasing sales of cathartics and laxatives attest the same fact. Dr. McCollum is authority for the statement that in 1923 over fifty million dollars were spent in the United States for cathartic drugs. This expenditure is increasing greatly year by year. [fn9] Thus while civilized man is refining and devitalizing much of his foodstuffs, (using the valuable parts, those containing the vitamins and minerals, for animal feed) he is purchasing tons of agaragar from Oriental countries to supplement the deficiency. The tragedy is that his health suffers more than his pocketbook (see chapters 10 and 13).

How few there are who have not suffered from some form of these “ills of civilization”. The cause may be definitely associated with a devitalized food supply and a failure to watch the mineral and vitamin needs of the body. [fn10]

Vitamin B is found where there is to be new life, in seeds, especially in the germ of wheat and in yeast; also in bran, middlings, dried peas, beans, lentils, all whole meal flours and cereals, whole rice, egg yolk, whole fresh milk, and the animal glands such as liver, heart, kidney, sweetbreads and brain. Nuts, except the coconut, are a good source of this vitamin, especially in their natural state.

Vegetables and fruit are not rich sources of vitamin B. [fn11] Some is found in the Irish and sweet potato, in parsnips, the yellow rutabaga, tomatoes, avacados and asparagus. Cabbage, leeks and cress also contain some vitamin B. Of the fruits, apples, avacados, bananas, pineapples and the citrus fruits are the best known sources, though their vitamin B content is not high.

The chief supply of vitamin B in our food, under natural conditions, is from the whole grain of wheat and other cereals, especially in the germ (unfortunately removed in most milling processes). For this reason, especially, whole cereal grains, unpolished rice, and whole wheat bread and macaroni, should replace the refined products used so commonly today. Yeast is a very rich source of vitamin B, but the amount put into bread is too small to be effective. Many nutrition experts advise the taking every day of dried brewer’s yeast, and extra wheat germ in cereals or cookies, not in any sense as a medical adjunct but as a valuable food to supplement the average modern diet which is notably deficient in this vitamin. Children as well as adults have special need of some extra source of this vitamin in the daily diet. For the pregnant or nursing mother it is imperative and as compared with the common diet should be greatly increased. Some nutrition experts advise that three to five times the normal amount should be taken during this period, with safety on the side of the larger amount. [fn12] The greater the weight or activity of the individual the greater is his need of vitamin B, and a greater amount should be eaten.

Since vitamin B is soluble in water it may be stored in the body for a very brief time only and this store is soon exhausted. Therefore, it should be found plentifully in the daily diet at all ages.

Vitamin B is destroyed somewhat by ordinary cooking, especially with soda. High temperature, under pressure, destroys it completely.

Vitamin C. This vitamin, also known as ascorbic acid, possesses the power to keep in healthy condition the connective tissues of the body, which hold together the countless millions of body cells.

In the absence or under a shortage of vitamin C, the connective tissue is weakened, the blood vessels become fragile and bleed under the skin or internally, producing general weakness, acute soreness of the joints, gums with loosened teeth, and fragile bones. When the bones of the jaw are attacked, the resulting condition is called pyorrhea, which disease afflicts a large number of civilized men today. When the gums or any parts of the body bleed easily, it may be taken as a warning that more vitamin C should be taken in the diet. When the deficiency becomes acute the disease called scurvy results. This disease has afflicted man for centuries, though its direct cause was not known until recently. The vitamin which prevents it is therefore called the anti-scorbutic vitamin. The lack of this vitamin may also cause hemorrhages in the lining of the stomach and alimentary tract, thus making them susceptible to infection of all kinds. Indeed, the increasing prevalence of gastric and duodenal ulcers may be aggravated in large measure by the shortage of vitamins B and C in the diet.

Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits– oranges, lemons, grapefruit– in sprouting grains, in green, leafy plants– celery, lettuce, cress, and spinach– in tomatoes, rutabagas, beans, squash, bananas, raspberries, peaches, pineapple; in raw summer milk (if cows are fed in pastures) and in liver lightly cooked. Other foods containing vitamin C in amounts that make them desirable as sources of this substance are potatoes, cabbage, carrots and apples. Many of these foods are best eaten raw. Those who find it difficult to reach the modern markets may increase their vitamin C supply by sprouting grains or legumes– peas, beans, lentils. This has been practiced by the Orientals for ages. Another inexpensive source is the raw juice of the tomato, rutabaga, carrot, or other vegetables mentioned.

In many vegetables, especially the potato, the vitamins are usually just under the skin, therefore such vegetables should be scrubbed clean and put on to cook without previous peeling. If peeled, the peelings should be cooked, strained and used for soup. However, potato peelings which show the dark greenish color (which comes from growing while exposed to the sun) should be discarded, since they may contain measurable amounts of the poison common to many of the night-shade group of plants to which group the potato belongs. Vitamin C is soluble in water, and vegetables should therefore never be soaked, especially when peeled.

Vitamin C will not stand much heating or freezing, and is most difficult to obtain unless the food is eaten fresh, often uncooked. To preserve this vitamin, cooking should be about ten minutes and not to exceed twenty to thirty minutes, except for dried legumes, and never with soda or salt, which destroys this as other vitamins. If vegetables are cooked without access to air, and not under pressure, some of the vitamin may be preserved; therefore, it is found in certain brands of canned tomatoes. Ordinary cow’s milk is deficient in this vitamin, except where the cows are grass-fed; therefore, bottle-fed babies should be given orange juice or strained tomato juice in addition to their whole milk and other food.

Since prolonged cooking is harmful to most vitamins, the wise housewife will cook her vegetables with this understanding. Because of this fact, many vegetables are much better as food if eaten raw, hence the custom of eating salads every day. One worker has made this clear:

“A quarter of a century ago raw carrots were never seen on the tables of the wealthy. Raw carrots were all right for rabbits and for such people who could not afford the more expensive dishes. But nature has given the proud millionaire and the humble shopkeeper the same kind of stomach. And since, as the philosophers have observed, ‘a hale cobbler is better than a sick king,’ the raw carrot, so potent in building vigorous health through its riches of vitamins, has come into its own. It is now served everywhere, in the palatial metropolitan hotels as well as in the lowly cottages– perhaps it provides for us a lesson not only in good health but also in the sin of snobbishness.

“But not all foods can be eaten raw, as carrots. Some must be cooked if they are to be made palatable. Fortunately, we have learned to shorten the time for cooking vegetables. A generation ago string beans, cabbage, and greens, including spinach, were boiled from two to three hours with a ham bone or a slab of pork. This method probably justifies the insubordination of those who had to eat spinach prepared under such circumstances! If foods are heated in vacuo, two-thirds of the vitamin C is saved.” [fn13]

Since vitamin C cannot be stored in the body the daily use of foods containing it is imperative. There is little danger of taking an overdose of vitamin C in the diet, but grave danger from a shortage is possible.

Vitamin D. In chapter 9, the imperative need of food calcium and phosphorus and other minerals was made clear. But, unless there is a “mineral food policeman” in the body these much needed substances cannot be utilized. The agent that performs these duties is known as vitamin D. This vitamin stimulates generally the metabolism of the necessary minerals in the cells of the body, especially in the teeth and the entire bony structure. There may be ample minerals in the food but without the presence of vitamin D they cannot be used properly in preserving bodily health. Therefore, vitamin D has been called the “mineralizing agent” in food. It also aids in the promotion of healthy nerves through its power to stimulate calcium absorption.

When there is a shortage of vitamin D in the food, especially before birth, the jawbones and teeth are poorly formed; the teeth are very susceptible to decay, often crooked and malformed; bones are misshapen and break easily. A decided shortage produces rickets, a disease well known in most countries of the temperate zone, especially those with little sunshine. The most common manifestations of this disease are bad teeth, bow legs and a misshapen bony structure generally. It has been called the “disease of poverty and darkness”, for direct sunshine on the skin is a protector against rickets. Most cases of spinal curvature and other such deformities are the result of mineral and vitamin D deficiency either in the mother’s food before birth, or in the child’s food during its early life, or of both. Rickets is not only a disease of the bones but affects the entire body. Those who are afflicted with it usually eat far too much starchy and sweet foods, “made dishes”, instead of the foods made by nature: milk, fruits, and vegetables.

Dr. McCollum reports a most interesting study as to the effects of vitamin D on the duration of labor at childbirth. Of 300 cases of first pregnancies 201 were given ample vitamin D during the period and had an average labor of six hours per patient. For those not given vitamin D the average labor was 19 hours. When given to mothers of later births the average labor was only 3 1/2 hours. [fn14]

Vitamin D is one of the vitamins which may be formed in the human body, but only by direct exposure of the skin to the ultraviolet rays of sunshine. For this reason the body, or parts of it, should be exposed but not overexposed to direct sunlight for certain periods daily whenever possible. It has been called the “sunshine vitamin” or the “secret of the sun”. Indeed, sunlight acting on plants forms all the vitamins, and is the best physician known to man.

Vitamin D is fat soluble and occurs in many of the fatty foods which contain vitamin A; it was believed for some time to be identical with vitamin A. Vitamins A and D have been shown however to be quite distinct in their functions.

Fish liver oils are the richest sources of this vitamin. Of those investigated to date, the halibut liver oil contains many times as much vitamin D as does cod liver oil, and the blue fin tuna liver oil many times more; while the livers of the percamorph fishes (of which the perch is a member) exceed by far the content of any other known source of vitamin D. Purified preparations of all these oils are put up by reliable firms and their use is recommended, especially during the winter months. [fn15] Vitamin D is found also, but in much less quantity, in yellow beef suet, milk, butter and eggs, when animals are fed right. Because of the relationship between sunshine and vitamin D, milk or vegetable oils are often exposed for a certain period to the direct rays of the sun or to artificially produced ultra-violet rays. Such irradiated foods contain vitamin D, synthesized by the ultraviolet rays.

An overdose of vitamin D may be toxic, causing an increased absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the body and a consequent disturbance of the blood, kidneys, large arteries and intestines. However, the eating of natural foods will seldom produce this effect but the dose of highly concentrated preparations such as irradiated ergosterol may be overdone. All artificial or chemically prepared vitamin concentrates are best used on the advice of a competent physician. [fn16]

Since the short waves of light, (the so-called ultra-violet light which accomplishes the formation of vitamin D) cannot pass through ordinary window glass, the exposure of the body or foods to secure the benefits of vitamin D, must be to the direct sunlight– in the open– but without over-exposure. Glass which is transparent to the violet rays of the sun may now be obtained, and for cold climates the use of this “vitaglass” is recommended for window panes.

An interesting property of vitamin D is that it may be stored in the body, though not to the same extent as vitamin A. It is also more stable than any other vitamin, being unhurt by cooking or oxidation.

Vitamin E. This is the vitamin on which is dependent indirectly the future of the race, for it is the one which must be present in the diet to secure normal reproduction and lactation. Its absence from the diet tends to cause sterility in males, and miscarriage in females. Without it, animals may be seemingly normal and well-nourished but definitely incapable of reproduction.

Experiments of the effects of vitamin E on laboratory animals have led to some startling disclosures.

“Three vitamins play vital parts in reproduction– vitamins A, B, and E. We have seen that diets low in vitamin A cause ovulation to cease in the female and bring injury to her reproductive system. The absence of that vitamin in the diet of the male is responsible for the degeneration of the epithelial tissues and a serious impairment of the sex function. If vitamin B is entirely lacking, the result is degeneration of the tissues of the sex glands in both male and female. Vitamin E deficiency results in the destruction of the germ cells in the male and a failure of placental function in the female, a disturbance not seen in any other food deficiency. A lack is felt sooner by the female than by the male rats, but it is quickly cured by feeding vitamin E, however long the privation has been. Once the injury is done in the male rats, it is almost impossible to restore fertility, even with large doses of this factor. There is a gradual decay of the generative organs which cannot be corrected.” [fn17]

During pregnancy and lactation the body need of vitamins and minerals is greatly increased. The quantity of food need not be increased, but the coming mother must “eat for two” as regards the mineral and vitamin content of her food. During lactation, the mother should eat liberally of high quality protein with a more than usual supply of vitamins. [fn18]

Vitamin E, like vitamins A and D, is soluble in fat. It is found most abundantly in the germ or embryo of wheat and other grains, and in seeds such as corn, peas, and beans. It is also found in egg yolk, liver, lettuce and the green leaves of plants. Vitamin E may be stored in the body, and transferred from mother to child. It is not destroyed by moderate cooking.

Vitamin G. This, the latest vitamin to be designated alphabetically, is often associated with vitamin B; indeed for a long time it was thought to be identical with vitamin B, and is therefore designated by European writers as vitamin B2. Recent investigations have shown it to be a separate vitamin of high importance to human welfare.

Vitamin G is necessary for the promotion of general health and, with the other vitamins, stimulates growth and activity into a feeling of general well-being. Specifically it seems to induce firmness of flesh, increase muscle tone, promote youthful and healthy hair and skin, and prolong the characteristics of youth into old age. Indeed, it has been called the “longevity vitamin.”

Its shortage in the food causes first an unhealthy condition of the skin, falling hair and wrinkles; then a skin rash and decided irritation which may develop into actual sores; next a sore mouth and tongue; while prolonged shortage produces intestinal weakness resulting in diarrhea, with lesions in the spinal cord causing in time mental disturbances. A general debility ensues, with all the evidences of old age.

The sun seems to aggravate the symptoms and the face and hands and parts exposed to the sun become intensely inflamed, with hideous sores which follow a long continued and definite shortage. This is the dread disease pellagra which is so prevalent in the South and other districts where the food consists chiefly of white bread usually served hot, degerminated cornmeal and other carbohydrate foods made palatable with hog fat and molasses. “Grease and grits” is not a satisfactory diet, for they are practically devoid of minerals and vitamins. The use of poor quality proteins is also a probable factor in the incidence of pellagra.

This is the one deficiency disease prevalent in the United States where the food supply is supposed to be “the best in the world”. From its ravages thousands die annually and many more suffer from it more or less throughout their entire lives– for it affects young and old alike. In 1927 over 120,000 cases were recorded in the Southern States. During 1911-1916 the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company recorded more deaths from pellagra than from tuberculosis or malaria.

Pellagra occurs wherever devitalized food predominates. It has been called one of the chief “modern plagues of Egypt”. It is not contagious and is entirely a dietary or deficiency disease.

Vitamin G is found in many foods which contain vitamin B. Its richest sources are standardized brewer’s yeast, liver extract, milk, cheese, whey-cheese or powder, egg white, kidney, and liver. It is also found in lesser degree in lean meat and some leafy vegetables. Liver, eggs, green leaves, milk and meat are richer in vitamin G than B; while whole grains and legumes are richer in vitamin B than G. Egg white is the only one of these foods which contains vitamin G but not B.

It is a water soluble vitamin and therefore is often lost by wrong cooking processes. It cannot be stored in the body and so must be taken daily. Moderate heat does not destroy it, but it is destroyed by the pressure cooker, or when cooked with soda, or when exposed to light. That is probably one reason why direct sunlight seems to aggravate the disease pellagra.

Experts claim that one quart of milk daily for adults as well as children (skim or dried milk if one wishes to reduce), with a liberal use of fruit and vegetables, and meat occasionally, will protect one against a shortage of this vitamin.

It may be noted in passing that the child needs his daily quart of milk to insure a supply of calcium as well as to supply vitamin G, but the adult needs it to insure the youth-prolonging vitamin G as well as to maintain his mineral balance. When fresh milk may not be obtained in quantities sufficient for family needs, powdered or canned milk, which largely maintains its calcium and vitamin G potency, may be used. This latter may be used with profit in cooking and thus enhance the milk intake. Thus, one’s life expectancy and vigor may be increased.

Vitamin Content of Foods. The following table, giving the vitamin content of some foods most commonly used, is compiled from various reliable sources, notably Sherman, Rose, the Medical Research Council of Great Britain and the Bureau of Home Economics, U. S. Department of Agriculture. [fn19] It must be borne in mind that this information is not final since the vitamin and mineral content varies with the composition of the soil, amount of sunshine and other factors.

VITAMIN CONTENT OF FOODS

It will be noticed that no note is taken of vitamins D and E, for the following reasons: Vitamin D occurs, in many instances, associated with vitamin A, though its action is quite distinct. The best sources of vitamin D are fish liver oils, egg yolk, butter, cream, cheese, liver and whole milk. As explained in the text, it may be manufactured in the body by the action of direct sunlight upon the skin. Vitamin E is found in many foods, though its richest sources are in wheat germ and other grain embryos, green leaves, seeds, fresh meat, egg yolk and whole milk.

* means that some vitamin is present.

** means that the food is a good source.

*** means that the food is an excellent source.

—  means that no vitamin is present.

? means that information is not definite.

FOODS A B C G
Animal Foods
 Milk (whole) *** ** * Varies ***
Eggs *** * to ** ? ***
Eggs–white ***
Eggs–yolk *** ** ? ***
Fish (fat, fresh) * * ? *
Liver and Kidney *** ** *? ***
Heart and Sweetbreads * ** **
Brains * ** ? ?
Cheese (whole milk) ** to *** ? ? *
Cream (grass fed) *** ** Varies ***
Meat (fresh muscle–if fed right) * * — to * **
Butter ***
Cod liver oil ***
Ice Cream (genuine) ** ** *? ***
Vegetables and Fruits
Apples * * to ** ** **
Apricots ** ? ** **
Asparagus Varies ? ** ?
Avacado (Alligator Pear) ** *** * **
Bananas * to ** * to ** ** **
Beans (fresh) ** ** ** **
Beans (dry) * ** ? *
Beans (sprouted) * ** ** *
Beans (roots) * * * *
Beet (leaves) ** ** ** ***
Bread (white) — to *
Bread (white-whole milk) — to * — to * ? *
Bread (whole meal) ** *** — to * **
Broccoli ** ** * **
Cabbage (raw, green) ** ** *** **
Cabbage (cooked) * ** * **
Carrots *** ** ** **
Cauliflower * ** * **
Celery — to * ** ** ?
Corn (yellow) ** ** *
Corn meal (yellow) * ** *
Cress *** ** *** **
Dates * ** *
Kale *** * ** ***
Lemon juice * ** *** **
Lettuce * to ** ** ** **
Okra ** ** ? ?
Onions, raw — to * * ** *
Onions, cooked — to * * * *
Parsley *** ** *** ?
Peaches, raw * to ** * ** * to **
Peas, green ** ** *** **
Peas, dry * ** ? **
Nuts, uncooked * ** ? ?
Potatoes, white-unpeeled * ** ** *
Potatoes, Sweet *** ** ** *
Raspberries ** * ***
Strawberries * * *** ?
Rice, polished
Rice, whole grain * ** *
Rutabaga — to * ** *** ?
Spinach *** * ** **
Squash, Hubbard *** * ? *
Squash, Summer * * ? *
Tomatoes, raw ** ** *** *
Turnips — to * * ** *
Turnips, leaves *** ** *** **
Watercress *** ** *** **
Watermelon ** * *** *
Wheat, whole * ** *
Wheat, bran * ** *
Wheat, germ ** *** **
Yeast *** ***

Canning and Drying. What are the effects of drying and canning on the food value of fruits and vegetables is a question often asked. The different vitamins respond differently to these processes. Vitamin C is the most unstable; it cannot resist heating, drying or even long storage. Others, notably vitamins D, G, E and even B are more resistant; but they lose some of their potency in the ordinary processes of canning, especially when cooked with the pressure cooker or in the open air. Kiln or sun drying destroys the vitamins; especially is this true with those treated with sulphur or other gases to hasten the process. Sun drying however does not reduce the mineral content of foods.

Certain it is that canned or dried foods used in moderation are acceptable foods, provided vitamin rich foods are used to supplement the diet. On farms and places away from the larger markets, fresh foods are often difficult to secure and the use of canned or dried food becomes necessary. Intelligence and prudence must then be used to secure the necessary vitamins in some other form.

One of the dangers of the preserving kettle is that excessive amounts of sugar may be used to make foods palatable or to keep them from spoiling, which foods if used to excess may cause digestive disturbances. Another danger in canning or cooking vegetables is the use of soda to retain their green color or to make them cook more quickly. This process destroys all vitamins and changes for the worse the flavor and food value of food so treated. If cooked quickly in a minimum of water, the color as well as flavor may be retained.

Some foods must be cooked, but not too long. All safe students of health science agree that everyone should eat some raw food, including milk, fruits and leafy vegetables– every day if possible. This does not exclude moderate amounts of canned or dried fruits and vegetables. When over one-third or more of the calories of the diet are taken in the form of cereal food products (white bread and cereals usually), and one-fifth in the form of sugar, with an additional one-fifth as meat, it will be noted that the larger proportion of the food supply is furnished by foods which are practically devoid of vitamins or minerals. Any reduction of these essential nutritive elements caused by the processes of refining, drying or canning foods which furnish the vitamin supply will surely lead to nutritive disaster.

A testimonial as to the inspiration of the Word of Wisdom in relation to the use of fresh food, “in the season thereof” is given by Dr. Ullman:

“It is most deplorable that industry and capital are successful, by shrewd advertising methods and even with the aid of medical schools, in making people believe that canned food can replace fresh food at any time and in any way. This is far from the truth. Whatever the scientific departments of the canneries may emphasize and advertise, it is clear that the food which has been processed, heated, sugared, pickled, stained, bleached, seasoned with salt and various acids and finally closed up in a tin can, is far from its natural state. It may still contain the vitamins A, B or C, but it never will be the same as fresh food. Especially is this true as far as acids are concerned. Whenever food is closed up in a metal container it is merely a matter of time until certain acids form. The United States Bureau of Chemistry, recognizing this fact, has twice made the attempt to obtain a new legislation which would compel the labeling of cans with an expiration date, just as vaccines and sera have to be labeled. Both times the canneries and their allies were able to suppress these efforts. It may be remembered by every one that the use of canned food should be restricted to the absolute minimum in spite of all the advertising. Especially should one be careful of buying canned food at sales. All these bargains are the remains of one year or more and the risk of bad effects stands in no relation to the saving. . . . Advertising is primarily a means toward making more money as every businessman knows. Here, however, we are not concerned with the merits of advertising but only with preserving health and preventing colds.” [fn20]

Foods Without Vitamins. Such foods should be eaten sparingly, especially if they are lacking in minerals as well. Among them are the following: Vegetable oils and margarines, nut butters, lard, pork and bacon fats, all vegetables cooked with soda, all fruits or vegetables if cooked too long, jam, marmalade, fruit jellies, white flour and bread, cakes, biscuits, crackers, macaroni, pastry, syrup, treacle, white sugar, candy, white rice, pearl barley, corn starch, egg substitutes, sago, tapioca and dried coconut. This list includes the foods which are treated by man either to suit an unnatural taste, or to enable them to be shipped without spoiling from place to place. The diet in which they predominate cannot produce full health even though they may be good energy foods, containing sufficient calories and are easily digested. If persisted in, the first symptoms of the deficiency diseases are sure to follow, and man pays the price sooner or later with broken health. One must learn to enjoy food prepared by Mother Nature– she is the best “cook.” She knows her job. It must be remembered that some vitamin free foods may be valuable for their mineral content.

Foods Rich in Vitamins. Such are: All fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, grains, milk, cheese, eggs, and to some degree fresh meats. These foods should form the bulk of the human diet, for they form the source of all vitamins, minerals, proteins and energy foods.

This does not mean that a satisfactory and health-giving diet need be coarse or monotonous for there is a great variety of fruits and vegetables available at most seasons, and the development of modern transportation with refrigeration makes available most fruits and vegetables in season the year round. The increasing use of refrigerator trucks also makes it possible to find markets in more remote farming communities. While long cold storage tends to decrease the vitamin content yet if done carefully and not too long, most vitamins will be present. With our present knowledge the same may be said of products kept in a frozen state. When people are aware of their bodily needs, the demand for a wholesome diet may be met in most cases. Here as elsewhere the enemies to be feared are ignorance and indifference. The willingness to “let good enough alone” may in time undermine one’s health and happiness.

Vitamin Shortage. In summing up the case for “fresh food,” one must remember that it is now a well known fact that many cases of lingering illness or cases of ill-defined poor health may be aggravated by a shortage of food minerals and vitamins, for the diseases often disappear when vitamin or mineral-rich foods are taken. The great plagues of the Orient or the deficiency diseases of sunless climates are not frequently met among people who have enough means for most of life’s necessities. Yet, many of the first symptoms of these dread diseases, caused by insufficient vitamins and minerals, are all too prevalent among civilized men today. Thus, for health preservation it is important to provide a full supply of vitamins to promote full health and vigor as well as to fortify one against the countless infections and ills to which man is heir. [fn21]

One clever student of nutrition has said that if ample calcium-bearing foods were taken together with vitamins B, G, and D, all of which promote nerve health, there would be a definite decrease in the modern divorce rate. [fn22] Certain it is that many cases of irritability or so-called nervous collapse, attributed to over-work or the speed of modern life, as well as mental deficiency or even criminal tendencies, may be caused by a long continued shortage of necessary minerals and vitamins resulting from the devitalized foods which form the bulk of the modern diet.

It should be understood that generally one is much safer in taking vitamins and minerals from natural foods than from artificially prepared drug products. Many reliable dietitians advise those who live away from the supply of fresh milk and garden produce, to take daily, some fish liver oils and dried brewer’s yeast tablets as supplementary foods. In addition, a wise daily diet would include two or more cooked vegetables, some raw food in the form of salads, whole grain bread or porridge, an ample supply of milk, eggs and butter, and the use of flesh foods “sparingly,” which should include occasionally liver, kidneys, brains and sweetbreads. [fn23]

Food For Infants. Mother’s milk is the natural and best food for babies. If mothers are well nourished and live according to the known laws of health, there is no reason why modern mothers may not nurse their babies as well as did their grandmothers. No normal woman would wilfully forego this blessed privilege no matter who may advise to the contrary, for no prepared infants’ food can compare in health value with that given by nature.

If weaning is necessary, then natural food should be given, and the best available is modified cows’ milk, given according to the best knowledge of nutrition experts. One should beware of artificially prepared products even though they may be highly advertised or recommended and may seem to make a baby fat and active. No artificial product, even though scientifically compounded, can supplant nature’s food; for up to date no chemical or nutritional laboratory can put into a manufactured food all the ingredients that nature planted there. The baby fed on canned foods, or devitalized cereals, may seem well for a time but later trouble will develop if its food has not been entirely complete. Right principles of good nutrition apply to the human body from birth to old age, and the wise mother or prospective mother will inform herself on this most important subject.

Diet for Invalids. Those who are ill require even greater attention to the known laws of good nutrition than do those who are robust and active. Dr. Plimmer summarizes many difficulties thus:

“White flesh, white fish, served with pasty, white sauces, white cereals in puddings and gruels are the daily fare of the invalid. Beef tea and meat extracts stimulate the appetite, but consist mainly of water. Most of the fat and protein with its vitamin B2 (or G) which were in the meat have been discarded. In special cases fruit and vegetables are debarred as likely to cause acidity, flatulence and indigestion. . . . An invalid diet is so frequently lacking in vitamins that it would kill the healthiest man if continued for a few months. Since resistance to infection depends largely upon the food, every surgical or medical patient should receive an abundance of vitamins as part of the regulation treatment.” [fn24]

A Prophet’s Inspiration. Again, the principles of good nutrition apply to the human body from youth to age, in sickness and in health. Indeed, if these principles were understood and applied man might “live to the age of a tree,” and be full of health and vigor throughout life’s journey. Our Heavenly Father intended it should be so, hence the wise instructions given to His children from time to time.

The present understanding of the function of vitamins in the human body is evidence that the Prophet Joseph Smith must have been inspired when he foretold this great truth so many years before the science of modern nutrition was born.

Most impressive is the fact that all the truths discovered regarding the importance of vitamins in man’s diet conform so strictly to the instructions given in the Word of Wisdom: “Every herb and every fruit in the season thereof,” and this, long before man knew anything about vitamins.

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

Bogert, L. J., Nutrition and Physical Fitness, 1935.

Chaney, and Ahlborn, Nutrition.

Daniel, Esther P., and Munsell, Hazel E., Vitamin Content of Foods, Bureau of Home Economics, U. S. Department of Agriculture, 1937.

Davis, A., Optimum Health, 1936.

Eddy, W. H., Nutrition.

Gauger, M. E., Vitamins and Your Health, 1935.

Harris, L. J., Vitamins in Theory and Practice, 1935.

McCollum, E. V., Recent Advances in Nutritional Research, 1937.

McCollum, E. V., and Becker, J. E., Food, Nutrition and Health, 1933.

Plimmer, R. H. A., Food, Health and Vitamins, 1932.

Rose, M. S., Feeding the Family, 1935.

Rose, M. S., Foundations of Nutrition, 1937.

Sherman, H. C., Food and Health.

Sherman, H. C., Chemistry of Food and Nutrition.

Ullman, E. V., Diet in Sinus Infections and Colds.

Vitamins– Survey of Present Knowledge, 1932, Medical Research Council of Great Britain (His Majesty’s Stationery Office).

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, Footnotes

Footnotes

1. Doctrine and Covenants 89:11.

2. Harris, L. J., Vitamins in Theory and Practice, p. 47; Plimmer, R. H. A., Food, Health and Vitamins, pp. 38-54.

3. Bogert, L. J., Nutrition and Physical Fitness, p. 200.

4. Gauger, M. E., Vitamins and Your Health, pp. 26-27, 1935; Chaney, and Ahlborn, Nutrition, p. 173.

5. Bogert, L. J., Nutrition and Physical Fitness, p. 202.

6. Plimmer, R. H. A., Food, Health, Vitamins, pp. 38, 39.

7. Ibid., pp. 84, 109.

8. Ibid., p. 52.

9. McCollum, E. V., and Becker, Food, Nutrition and Health, p. 86.

10. Gauger, M. E., Vitamins and Your Health, p. 44.

11. Plimmer, R. H. A., Food, Health, Vitamins, p. 48.

12. Plimmer, R. H. A., Food, Health and Vitamins, pp. 52, 53. also Bogert, Nutrition and Physical Fitness, pp. 434-451.

13. Gauger, M. E., Vitamins and Your Health, pp. 64-65, 1935, Robt. M. McBride & Co.

14. McCollum, E. V., Recent Advances in Nutritional Research, 1937, pp. 24-25.

15. United States Department of Agriculture, miscellaneous publication, p. 275.

16. Bogert, L. J., Nutrition and Physical Fitness, 1935, p. 204.

17. Gauger, M. E., Vitamins and Your Health, pp. 87-88, Robert M. McBride & Co.

18. Bogert, L. J., Nutrition and Physical Fitness, p. 450.

19. Vitamin Content of Food, Daniel and Munsell, 1937.

20. Ullmann, E. V., Diet in Sinus Infections and Colds, 1934, pp. 20,21. Macmillan &Co.

21. Sherman, H.C., Food and Health, pp. 2, 117, 125; Plimmer, R. H. A., Food, Health, Vitamins, pp. 51-54.

22. Davis, A., Optimum Health, p. 87.

23. Bogert, L. J., Nutrition and Physical Fitness, pp. 236, 237

24. Plimmer, R. H. A., Food, Health, Vitamins, 1932, p. 119. Longmans Green & Co.


 

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, p. 174

Chapter 12

GRAINS

“All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth. . . . All grain is good for the food of man.” [fn1]

Use of Grain. Grains, or cereals, were ordained to be “the staff of life” for human and animal consumption, and so they have been almost from the beginning of time. All races consume large quantities of cereal products unless it be the peoples of the frozen north or south where grains cannot grow. This consumption has increased greatly from earlier ages owing to the increased cultivation of the earth, made possible by improved methods of agriculture. The popularity of grains as food is augmented by their excellent keeping qualities, the ease with which they may be handled, and their relatively low cost. They furnish an economical source of energy, and it is difficult to plan a satisfactory diet without them, especially where the cost of food must be considered.

Composition of Grains. Grains contain the six necessary food elements already enumerated, though not in the same proportions. They are characterized by a high carbohydrate (starch) and rather low protein content. That is, they are largely carbohydrate or energy foods.

The ash or mineral content of the grains is fairly high. Phosphorus and calcium are both present in a notable degree, while iron, copper and manganese, necessary to full health, are usually found in more than sufficient amounts. The inclusion of grains in the dietary insures a relatively large ingestion of the necessary minerals. (see chapters 9 and 11)

The grains are also excellent sources of the valuable vitamins B and E with smaller quantities of vitamins A and G. From every point of view, grains are good human foods.

All Grains Are Good Food. The grains most used are rice, wheat, rye, corn, oats and barley, and in this order is the relative extent of their use as food. Today more than half of the human family subsist largely on rice, the staple food of all Oriental peoples. Among the so-called white races, wheat is the favored grain because of its ease of production, its bland flavor and the porous loaf of bread that may be made from it.

In many countries of Europe, rye is used as a staple food, virtually displacing wheat products. These peoples are well nourished, when other food habits are good, for the minerals and vitamins are distributed throughout the rye kernel and are not so apt to be discarded in the process of milling as is the case in wheat flour. Barley will grow where wheat does not thrive, therefore it is used for bread in such places. Oats are used in most countries for a type of mush or similar breakfast dish for which they are an excellent, nutritious food, if not too highly milled and refined. The people of Scotland for generations have used oats for cereals and cakes, more largely than wheat or rye, and are, when ample milk is used with this otherwise good diet, well fed and healthy. Corn is used in many countries both as bread and for other popular dishes.

Human experience has shown that any or all of these grains are wholesome human foods. This is confirmed by chemical analysis. The following table gives the comparative composition of the grains most commonly used:

Proteins Fats Carbohydrates Inorganic
or Mineral
Constituents
Whole Wheat Flour 13.8 1.9 71.9 1.7
Corn Meal 9.2 1.8 75.4 0.7
Rice (polished) 7.2 0.2 76.0 0.5
Rye Flour 8.0 0.9 76.0 0.7
Barley (pearled) 8.5 1.1 77.8 1.3
Oatmeal 16.1 7.2 67.5 1.9

Breakfast Cereals. A favorite way of taking grain as food is by the use of breakfast cereals. These must be properly cooked. The whole of the wheat grain should be used, for the minerals and vitamins are found in the germ and the outer covering of the kernel. The grain may be ground as fine as desirable or eaten whole as preferred.

Prepared cereals are easy to serve but are relatively expensive; in such shape, grain is often sold at the rate of $25 a bushel. Also through the process of manufacture they are likely to become deficient in some of the vitamin and mineral content of the grains inasmuch as they will not keep fresh unless devitalized. One of the simplest and best cereals is made by grinding whole wheat to any desired fineness in an old-fashioned coffee grinder. The following partial list classifies some standard breakfast cereals with respect to the manner of their preparation:

WHOLE GRAIN HIGHLY MILLED
Oatmeal
Pettijohn’s
Puffed Wheat
Shredded Wheat
Dark Farina
Wheatsworth
Wheatena
Graham Mush
Wild Rice
Cream of Wheat
Light Farina
Corn Flakes
Cornmeal (white)
Hominy
Grapenuts
Pearled Barley
White Rice
Puffed Rice [fn2]

Starch and Sugar in the Diet. The grains are rich in carbohydrates– that is, in sugars and starches. When many molecular sugar groups are linked together, a starch is formed. Similarly, when a starch is subjected to a hydrolizing, disorganizing process, as in digestion, sugars are formed. When starch is eaten, its first digestive change is its reduction to sugar. Therefore, sugars and starches are practically identical in their effects upon the body. This explains why it is a dietetic duplication to combine sugar and starchy foods as is often done with sugar on cereals or in the rich pastries and desserts of the modern dietary.

As a rule, starches are easily and fully digested when properly cooked and taken alone. Partial cooking of starches which has occurred where the inside of hot bread or biscuits is of a doughy consistency, leads to retarded digestion. Starches are also much harder to digest when fried, for fat covers the starch granules and keeps them from being properly and promptly reached by the digestive juices (as in doughnuts, fried foods, etc.). They are also less digestible when blended with fat as in pastry or in undercooked gravy or cream sauce. Such a combination tends to ferment in the stomach and intestines, causing delay in digestion and in time producing distressing symptoms which often lead to irritation and later to serious trouble.

One of the commonest dietary errors of today is the overeating of starchy foods, with or without fats and sugars, such as macaroni, rice, cereals, cakes, pastry and desserts– thereby satisfying the hunger so that no desire remains for foods that contain building materials with regulating minerals and vitamins. The excessive use of starch, sugar or fat, unbalances the diet by supplying an excess of one of the essential food elements, the energy producing one.

Sugar as Food. Sugar is a carbohydrate food which has come into general use since the Word of Wisdom was given to the world. The revelation deals only with grains, fruits, vegetables– nature’s products– and with meat to be used sparingly in cold or famine, but it does not follow that foods not specifically mentioned in the Word of Wisdom are prohibited. Milk and many other good foods are not mentioned, yet should be used intelligently, with wisdom and prudence, which includes knowledge.

The use of sugar as food is a recent development. Before 1600 A.D. it was used in Europe as a medicine or a curiosity and was handled only in the apothecary (or drug) shops and sold for $1.50 or more a pound. Later it was used only as a flavoring and in minute quantities. Its use as a staple article of diet has gradually increased with the ease and extent of its manufacture, from an annual 10 pounds per capita one hundred years ago, to over 120 pounds per capita today. [fn3] The annual candy bill alone is well over a billion dollars. The people of the United States have become known as the “sugar gluttons” of the world.

The body needs sugar; it is a physiological necessity, for it is found as glucose in the blood (about one part to one thousand) and provides fuel for heat and muscular energy. However, there is much difference, in sugar concentration, between the sweet foods that occur in nature and those manufactured from cane or sugar beets. Pure sugar is one of the most concentrated foods known, one lump containing an amount equal to that found in about three feet of sugar cane. In Mexico and other countries where the diet is more simple, sugar cane is sold on the markets and is used as a natural sweet-meat. This is desirable, for then the teeth get exercise and the minerals as well as the natural sweets are obtained from the juice. In the manufacture of sugar the mineral content of the cane or beet passes into the molasses, which in the case of beets is never used for human food. Even nature’s sweet foods, fresh or dried fruits, honey or syrup, are good foods, but their proper use should be understood and followed; they should be eaten moderately, usually as a dessert.

There are many disadvantages resulting from the excessive use of sugar as food. It is an artificially prepared product, is totally lacking in proteins, mineral salts and vitamins. It is distinctly a habit-forming food; those who have never used it do not like it, but a taste for it is easily acquired, after which one is tempted to overeat on sweet foods which leads to an unbalanced diet. This habit-forming nature has contributed greatly to the consumption of sugar. [fn4]

The process of starch and sugar digestion is well known. The gland known as the pancreas secretes a digestive fluid which is emptied into the upper small intestine. This secretion contains a hormone called insulin which tends to lower the concentration of glucose in the blood, and is essential for the utilization of all carbohydrate food– starches and sugars.

McCollum states that:

“Sugar, being readily soluble, is quickly absorbed from the digestive tract, and if eaten too freely at one time tends to enter the blood faster than the liver and other tissues can abstract it and causes a high tide of sugar in the blood. It is not improbable that when this high tide of sugar occurs the pancreas puts out more insulin than is necessary, thus putting a strain on the insulin-forming structures. If this is true, eating excessively of sugar over a considerable period may tend to bring on diabetes. . . . Nature did not intend that we should eat freely of the simple sugars and did not make them available. She gave us much starch instead. This was a wise provision, since starches eaten with an ordinary meal require several hours for complete digestion and absorption, hence the resulting glucose enters the blood slowly and does not cause the high tide of blood sugar.” [fn5]

When one overeats on starches, which become sugar in digestion, and eats sweets as well, the pancreas becomes overworked and loses its power to dispose of the sugar which then accumulates in the blood and is excreted in the urine. The result is the disease diabetes which follows an insufficient supply of insulin. Many food experts claim that the excessive use of carbohydrates, sugars and starch in the diet may be the direct cause of diabetes, and all agree that the increased use of these foods certainly does greatly aggravate the disease. Dr. Plimmer states:

“The Americans, with their love of candy, are the largest sugar eaters in the world. Incidentally, cancer and diabetes, two scourges of civilization, have increased proportionately to the sugar consumption.” [fn6]

In the United States alone diabetes has doubled its incidence since 1900 and cancer has come to be the second greatest cause of death among all classes. The cause of these diseases is not definitely known but wrong diet, including excessive eating of meat and sweets, may safely be said to aggravate them. The over-use of sugar in the daily diet certainly irritates the delicate lining membrane of the alimentary tract, and persistent irritation predisposes it to the formation of ulcers, as is well known. Excessive use of sweets also affects adversely the liver and kidneys, with a consequent lowered resistance to disease.

All foods rich in sugar, such as candies, syrups, jams, jellies, “soda fountain treats,” and rich, sweet desserts should be eaten in great moderation and never between meals nor on an empty stomach. This is especially true for children who should receive much of their sugar supply from sweet fruits, honey, molasses and first-class candy used with wisdom as dessert. [fn7] Mary Swartz Rose is authority for the statement that candy and the “delectables of the soda fountain and ice cream parlor,” should be avoided by every one except at the end of a regular meal. Even then they are not desirable for children. She and other experts agree that candy should not be eaten by children until after their fifth year and then only the simplest kind and a minimum quantity as a dessert. [fn8] Cheap, highly colored candies should be avoided.

After a meal, a sweet dish, not too heavy or rich, gives one a satisfied feeling; but the habit of eating rich desserts is an acquired taste. The French and other continental peoples usually serve after a meal a very simple dessert, or more often some fruit in season. This latter custom is by far more hygienic. If heavy desserts are desired they should follow light meals; with a light dessert after a heavy meal.

The Word of Wisdom Confirmed. The Word of Wisdom advises the use of grains as food. It declares all grains good for man. Science has confirmed this view. They may be (and in the temperate climates they should be) “the staff of life.” Everyone should use intelligence and demand that foods shall be as nature intended and that dependence shall not be placed on devitalized foods or a “broken staff.” Again, the Word of Wisdom points the way to health and happiness; and again the prophetic power of Joseph Smith is made evident.

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

Bogert, L. J., Nutrition and Physical Fitness.

Davis, A., Optimum Health, 1936.

Eddy, W. H., Nutrition.

Lane, W. A., Secrets of Good Health.

Rose, M. S., Feeding the Family.

Sherman, H. C., Food and Health.

Stanley, L., and Cline, G. A., Foods, Their Selection and Preparation.

Williams, H. S., Drugs Against Men.

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, Footnotes

Footnotes

1. Doctrine and Covenants 89:14, 16.

2. Bogert, Nutrition and Physical Fitness, p. 33.

3. Sherman, H. C., Chemistry of Food and Nutrition, p. 18.

4. McCollum, E. V., and Becker, J. E., Food, Nutrition, Health 1934, pp. 16-17; Bogert, L. J., Nutrition and Physical Fitness, pp. 29-35, 395-397; Williams, H. S., Drugs Against Men, pp. 20-24.

5. McCollum, E. V., and Becker, J. E., Food, Nutrition and Health, pp. 16-17.

6. Plimmer, R. H. A., Food, Health, Vitamins, p. 3; Bogert, L. J., Nutrition and Physical Fitness, pp. 36-40.

7. Rose, M. S., Feeding the Family, pp. 183-185, 1934.

8. Bogert, L. J., Nutrition and Physical Fitness, p. 419.


 

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, p. 184

Chapter 13

“WHEAT FOR MAN”

“Nevertheless, wheat for man. . . . All grain is good for the food of man.” [fn1]

Wheat, Man’s Staff of Life. It has already been shown that wheat is valuable as a food because it furnishes some protein (body building) and much starch or carbohydrate (fuel producing); also because it is a source of several necessary mineral elements, including calcium, iron and phosphorus; and especially because it contains vitamins B and E, indispensable to human health and happiness. While wheat may not be a complete food for man, it approaches that definition so nearly as to be in reality a “staff of life.”

The Word of Wisdom, after declaring that “all grain is good for man,” adds “nevertheless, wheat for man.” This implies clearly that wheat is to be preferred over other grains in the dietary of man; that it more nearly supplies the needs of the human body than other grains.

This statement in the Word of Wisdom is supported by history. Wheat is the most ancient and most widely distributed of the grains. It has been used from times immemorial in all parts of the earth. Varieties of wheat are adapted for practically every condition of soil and climate. Wheat has always been held in the highest regard. Mythology records wheat as a divine gift to man. The nations of antiquity flourished most when wheat was their “staff of life.” It has seemed always to be associated with high standards of progressive living, and does so today.

Science has made only a beginning in the study of this subject. However, as far as investigations have gone, it has become evident that the grains differ in nutritive value for various kinds of animals. For example, in Chapter 14 it will be shown that for cattle, corn is a better single food than wheat. The cause for this difference lies very probably in the chemical nature of the various grain proteins, concerning which much new knowledge is being developed. Dr. McCollum frankly declares that “no cereal grain has yet been studied which contains proteins superior to those of wheat.” [fn2] All authorities agree that the “prominent place of wheat in the diet of mankind is justified by the results of experiments on animals.” As far as modern science goes the statement in the Word of Wisdom, “nevertheless, wheat for man,” is fully justified. For the people to whom the Word of Wisdom was given, living in a certain zone and under a certain climate, the statement is unquestionably correct. In countries where other grains thrive better, other grains than wheat may be used successfully in the human dietary. (see chapter 12)

The importance of wheat and wheat products in the human dietary justifies the following discussion.

Structure of the Wheat Kernel. There are three well-defined parts of the wheat kernel: (1) the bran or outer covering, (2) the germ, in which the new life is located, (3) the internal portion or endosperm, which forms the bulk of the kernel. The bran consists of four layers, the three inner coats of which are rich in protein (aleurone), minerals and vitamin B. The germ, under proper conditions of warmth and moisture will germinate, hence is the living part of the grain. It is very rich in vitamins B and E, in protein, fat and mineral matter. The endosperm or central part is composed of starch with about one-sixth as much gluten (protein) enmeshed in cellulose (woody fiber), but is devoid of vitamins and contains very little mineral substance. The organic phosphates, essential for the nutrition of brain and nerves, and the inorganic minerals, calcium and other phosphates concerned in the formation and growth of bone and teeth, are found mainly in the bran and germ, while the endosperm, from which white flour is made, is very poor in these important salts, containing less than one-tenth of the amount found in bran. [fn3] For all these reasons “wheat for man” is good advice. But to secure the full value of wheat, man should eat the whole grain.

The average difference in composition among whole wheat, white flour (the endosperm) and the bran (the outer covering), is shown in the following table:

Wheat
Kernel
White
Wheat
Flour
Wheat
Bran
Water (moisture) 12.00 13.50 13.00
Mineral Matter (ash) 2.00 0.40 5.80
Protein (nitrogenous matter) 12.00 11.00 15.40
Fat (ether extract) 2.00 1.25 3.60
Starch and Sugar (carbohydrates) 70.20 73.60 53.20
Cellulose (crude fiber) 1.80 0.25 9.00
100.00 100.00 100.00

Why Wheat is Milled. Information concerning flour and the bread made from it is of special importance because in most families bread forms the largest item in the dietary– is in fact the “staff of life”. Milling of the wheat kernel, resulting in refined flour, reduces the proportion of mineral elements and fiber, largely eliminates the vitamins, and increases the proportion of starch. Since the substances lost by such milling are valuable human foods, the reasons for producing refined flour, when it would be easier to render the whole kernel into flour, may well be sought.

There are three main reasons for milling: (1) Flour, white in color, is preferred by many people. To cater to this taste the highly refined flour is often bleached a sickly white. (2) It still seems to many people that to be able to eat white bread is proof of a superior station in life. (3) Most important, white flour keeps much better– weevils and worms do not care for it (they would starve to death on it!); it may therefore be shipped great distances, and kept indefinitely if necessary in the miller’s or grocer’s storerooms.

The present world-wide industrial era, in which commodities are exchanged over the earth, have forced many questionable practices on the public. While many advantages accrue to the food supply from long distance shipping facilities, such as making it possible to enjoy fruits and vegetables throughout all the year, yet there are disadvantages in the case of other commodities, which should be known and then corrected through modification of the daily diet.

The Value of White Bread. Refined white flour with a high gluten content makes a loaf that is palatable, light and spongy in texture, and because of its white color is more attractive to the eye. It is easily digested– with little residue– in fact, so completely digested that its very perfection may be its great drawback, for bulk is necessary in good digestion. Yet civilized man is living largely on white bread which, by that fact, is shown to be an acceptable food, though not necessarily fully nutritional.

Nutrition authorities differ somewhat on the value of white bread. Some prefer it because it is more quickly digested and is said to be non-irritating. All explain, however, that the necessary minerals and vitamins must then be provided from other sources.

Those who urge the use of white bread should remember that (1) most people do not know what other foods must be eaten to supply the deficiencies of white bread and other refined food products. In their ignorance of the subject, or lack of interest, the food of many people is faultily balanced and their bodies improperly nourished. (2) The average person is apt to take the bulk of his food from devitalized products, such as white bread, crackers, macaroni, breakfast cereals, pastry and other package food, convenient to purchase and easy to cook. By such a diet the natural craving for food is satisfied, for the time being, and there is little appetite left for the salads, vegetables, and fruits which should form the bulk of the food. “Eat your salad, Johnnie” or “You haven’t eaten your vegetables” are remarks often heard at the family table. The common reply is “I’m not hungry, I can’t eat my salad this time,” or “I don’t like this vegetable”. Thus the body is gradually being impoverished. (3) Most people are not able to afford the fresh foods necessary to supplement the diet after devitalized foods are purchased and used for “the daily bread”. Too many people use their scanty store to purchase foods which have been robbed of their most precious life-giving elements, either for commercial gain or convenience.

Hot Breads. The use of hot breads (whether as griddle cakes, waffles, rolls, biscuits or buns) is often questioned. They are difficult to masticate thoroughly and when taken with butter and syrup or other sweets are digested with difficulty. Therefore, they should be used very sparingly if at all, and never as the bulk of a meal. Dr. Rose states that they should never be eaten by children under 14 years of age and seldom thereafter. On this restriction list she also includes soft cakes and pastries. [fn4]

The Value of Whole Wheat Bread. Whole wheat bread, as here discussed, means bread made from the flour resulting when the whole wheat kernel, bran and germ included, is very finely ground and made into a wholesome loaf. It does not refer to the coarse cracked wheat or bran bread nor to the “brown bread” which may be colored with molasses or otherwise and seldom consists of the entire 100% wheat kernel. Whole wheat, ground fine, gives just as much bulk as when coarsely ground and is much more desirable.

The evidence for the nutritional value of whole wheat bread has long been known. More than ninety years ago, the English chemist, Thomas Graham, on the basis of analytical studies of wheat and wheat flour, urged the British public, as many British health authorities do today, to use whole wheat flour. Indeed, in many parts, whole wheat bread continues to be known as Graham bread.

The valuable vitamins lost in milling for white flour, are needed by the body. Vitamin B, abundant in the germ and outer layers of the wheat kernel, is seldom sufficiently supplied in ordinary diets to meet the full demands of the body. Whole wheat bread helps supply this deficiency.

The wheat kernel contains five times or more mineral substances than does refined wheat flour. These mineral substances are of utmost importance in maintaining a proper composition of the blood. (see chapter 7) The following table shows that the minerals are found in smaller percentages in white wheat flour than in the whole wheat kernel. [fn5]

Wheat Kernel White Wheat Flour
Potassium ………….. 0.520 0.050
Sodium …………….. 0.031 0.110
Calcium ……………. 0.050 0.019
Magnesium ………….. 0.130 0.016
Sulphur ……………. 0.198 0.145
Chlorine …………… 0.084 0.070
Phosphorus …………. 0.373 0.088

There is in the wheat kernel ten times more potassium than in white flour; two and one-half times more calcium; eight times more magnesium; one and one-third times more sulphur; three times more phosphorus. The relatively unimportant sodium and chlorine, because they are obtained from common salt, either approach or exceed in white flour the percentage in the wheat kernel.

All the evidence points to whole wheat foods as the more completely nourishing food for man. [fn6] Exceptions are people who, because of some physiological idiosyncracy or stomach weakness, cannot use the whole wheat products. In such cases extra care must be taken to see that the needed vitamins B and E and food minerals are taken in some other form; for the sick person needs them quite as much if not more than the one who is well.

The need for some indigestible materials in the human diet is another reason why wheat, ground fine, is such a valuable food. The cellulose or fiber of plants cannot be considered as food because it is largely indigestible. Yet it has a distinct nutritional function, since it is necessary to have some substance in the bowels after the food has been absorbed to help cause their contents to pass along the alimentary tract. Without “bulk” in the bowels, furnished by fruits and vegetables as well as by grains, the “churning muscles” which cause peristalsis become stale, just as any muscle loses tone through lack of exercise. However, it must be reiterated that bulk alone will not prevent stasis in the large bowel (constipation); there must also be ample vitamin B, necessary for the health of the nerves controlling bowel action. Whole wheat contains the necessary roughage as well as vitamin B, while seaweed and slimy seeds contain no vitamins or minerals.

Roughage or bulk to encourage peristalsis must be bland and non-irritating to the alimentary tract or serious trouble may ensue. Natural wheat bran or whole wheat has been found to have no ill effect on the normal digestive tract, especially when ground as fine as desired or required. Besides, when thoroughly moistened in the digestive juices, natural bran is softened and is well utilized by normal people. Many interesting experiments have been undertaken to prove this. One such was reported by Rose, MacLeod, Valteich, Funnell and Newton, entitled “The Influence of Bran on the Alimentary Tract”. Bran in different quantities was fed to human beings and to laboratory animals with the results carefully noted.

“In every one of the 22 rats fed bran as well as the two controls which ate no bran, the tissues were diagnosed as normal, no lesions of any kind being found. Therefore it is concluded that bran, fed in moderate quantities, such as is usual in human consumption, will not damage the tissues of the normal alimentary canal.” [fn7]

Corroborative experiences with human beings are also quoted.

The same experiment showed that bulk alone is not sufficient to avoid constipation; for when fiber not containing vitamin B was given there was no improvement; but when bran which was rich in vitamin B was added there was marked improvement. Thus it should be understood that while it is important to have roughage in the alimentary tract, the most important factor of bowel health is vitamin B.

The use of whole grain cereal and bread for children is questioned by some nutrition experts, even though it be ground very fine. However, such an opinion is not universal. Dr. Mary Swartz Rose in her food program for children, even for the second year, says that from one-half an ounce to one ounce of thoroughly cooked cereal may be taken daily by the healthy two-year-old. Preferably this cereal should be prepared from the whole grains. [fn8] This advice is given for everyone, throughout childhood as well as for adults, and she insists that cereal foods be eaten without sugar. [fn9] Also that hot breads be avoided and only a day or two old bread eaten so that thorough mastication may be encouraged. [fn10]

For the normal person the use of whole grains as bread or cereal properly prepared, may be highly recommended. However, when the alimentary tract is sensitive, which may easily happen as a result of a too concentrated diet of starches and sweets or meat, then of course, all fibre of fruits and vegetables as well as grain must be avoided.

It is poor economy, physiologically and financially, to discard all the essential roughage from the diet, eating only the refined foods of the modern dietary, and then to spend countless dollars in buying seaweed, slimy seeds and other bulk-forming products to do the work which natural food was intended to do. It is far worse still to use drugs or mineral oil to overcome constipation for, in time, distress and disease are sure to follow, for vitamins A, D, and E tend to be absorbed by the oil and pass out of the body. One cannot be properly nourished under such conditions. This is explained by R. A. Dutcher, Harris and others in the Journal of Nutrition for September, 1934, also in an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association for November 17, 1934.

An Experiment With Whole Wheat. The value of whole wheat in the diet has been shown by countless experiences. Dr. M. J. Rowlands and Dr. Ethel Browning reported an interesting experiment as follows.

“Twenty rats of the same breed and the same age were selected. These were divided into two lots, each of five males and five females. Those in Cage A were fed with wholemeal and those in Cage B with white bread.

“On August 2, the occupants of Cage A (wholemeal) weighed 840 grammes and those of Cage B (white bread) 952 grammes. So that there should be no question as to the animals suffering from a lack of variety of food their diet was varied from week to week.

“Each cage was provided with a food hopper identical in size, and Dr. Browning undertook the feeding. At no time were the food hoppers allowed to be empty; they were replenished immediately. While the rats in Cage A (wholemeal) never finished their supplies, those in Cage B (whitebread) were always wanting more. The actual weight of food consumed during the experiment by the rats in Cage A (wholemeal) was 72 oz., by those in Cage B (white bread) 199 oz.; i. e. more than double the amount consumed in Cage A.

“All the animals were weighed at stated intervals.

Cage A
(Wholemeal)
Cage B
(White Bread)
August 2 ………. 840 grammes 952 grammes
September 5 ……. 1,316 grammes 1,176 grammes
September 15 …… 1,484 grammes 1,211 grammes

“It will thus be seen that in the thirty-four days between August 2 and September 5, the rats fed on wholemeal, although they did not eat all the food given them, increased in weight by 476 grammes, while those fed on white bread increased by only 224 grammes, while in the next ten days the “wholemealers” added another 168 grammes, or nearly five times as much as those fed on white bread.

“Further, the ‘wholemealers’ remained sleek and healthy in appearance, while those fed on white bread showed obvious signs of debility, were listless in movement, lost their hair, and showed every sign of dying. One has, in fact, died, its weight at its death being 63 grammes, or roughly 7 grammes less than its weight at the commencement of the experiment.”

Experiment 2

“Four rats were fed on a deficiency diet containing no vitamin B. At the end of a month two of the rats were suffering from complete paralysis of the hind legs. They had lost weight and were having ‘fits.’ It was decided to place these two animals on test, the worst being placed on a diet of wholemeal, and the other, not so paralyzed, on white bread. Within three hours the rat that was given wholemeal containing the vital vitamin B, which it ate with avidity, was rapidly recovering, but the other, hardly touching the white bread, continued to sink. When wholemeal was offered, it ate ravenously.” [fn11]

One should not deduce from the above experiment that wholemeal as food will cause unusual size or unnecessary fat. Indeed the exact opposite is the case. It is the excessive use of starches and sweets which tend to cause overweight or underweight. The use of wholemeal cereal and bread, with fruit, vegetables, milk and meat (sparingly) will cause one to reach normal development, being neither too fat nor too thin. However, one would much rather be healthy though plump than to be thin, if ill-health were the price paid. There can be little doubt about the superior value of bread made from whole wheat flour, though it should be said that the too abundant use of bread, whether refined or whole, or other cereal foods, should be avoided, primarily because bread is acid-forming and must be balanced with other alkaline foods.

Our present knowledge of the nutritional value of wheat is in full confirmation of the Word of Wisdom. The use of grain as man’s food is well established from earliest times. The Word of Wisdom therefore but adds its sanction when it states “wheat for man”.

Diets of “Nature People”. (See also chapter 15) If proof were needed to substantiate these findings of science among human beings, it could be furnished by the Arabs and the hill-tribes in India, whose food is largely coarsely ground, unmilled grain products and amongst whom diseases of the alimentary tract– ulcers, appendicitis and cancer– are practically unknown. [fn12]

Dr. McCarrison states:

“For nine years of my professional life my duties lay in a remote part of the Himalayas, among isolated races, far removed from civilization. Certain of these races are of magnificent physique, preserving until late in life the characters of youth; they are unusually fertile and long-lived, and endowed with nervous systems of notable stability.

“During the period of my association with these people (nine years) I never saw a case of asthenic dyspepsia, of gastric or duodenal ulcer, of mucous colitis, or of cancer, although my operating list averaged over 400 operations a year.” [fn13]

Another eminent authority, Dr. Ernest H. Tipper, who served for many years in the West African Service, in his book The Cradle of the World and Cancer, a Disease of Civilization, makes the statement:

“The average daily number of cases seen during my twenty years service in West Africa was about sixty, exclusive of official rating, yet I only saw six cases of cancer altogether; five of these were in coast stations, the other one away in the grass country, but not one amongst those two million people in the heart of the Niger Delta: and I only once came across a case of appendicitis when in charge of a coast station, and that was not a clear case. The Equator is the cradle of the world, and amongst the race of which I write, where conventionalism is absent and food perfectly natural and abundant, where the natives have never lost touch with the first principles of feeding, and there is no such thing as constipation, there is no cancer. At the first dawn of civilization amongst them this disease makes its appearance; where civilization is advanced, it is rife.” [fn14]

The diet of these nature people is described as consisting of unmilled grains, fruits and vegetables, with a certain amount of milk and butter and goat’s meat only on feast days– just such a diet as is outlined in the Word of Wisdom.

It may be said here that from earliest times students of the subject have believed that a close relationship exists between disease and diet. For example, since the days of Galen (131-201 A.D.) physicians have urged a natural low meat diet as a preventative and cure of cancer– such as milk, eggs, whole grain cereals, fruits and leafy vegetables. In 1923 Dr. Alfred C. Jordan of London published the following dietary principles as a prevention of cancer: (1) Eat live foods (milk, cream, butter, cheese, fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts); (2) laxative foods, fresh fruits and vegetables; (3) avoid foods that decompose readily in the bowels (meat, fowl, game, and sugar); (4) avoid all food and drink that irritate the mucous lining of stomach or intestine (pickles, vinegar, strong condiments and all alcoholic beverages).

Dr. D. T. Quigley reported in July, 1935, a study covering ten years, and including 2,707 patients. He reports that all were found to be living on diets more or less deficient in minerals, especially calcium, iodine, iron, in all of the vitamins, and in roughage. Over 95% of them suffered from constipation and other stomach or intestinal disease. It is very likely that diet may be found a valuable ally in the fight against cancer. [fn15]

These and other studies make it evident that in very truth, the counsel given in the Word of Wisdom will lead one to enjoy the blessing of health, that all may “run and not be weary, may walk and not faint.”

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

Chaney, and Ahlborn, Nutrition.

Davis, A., Optimum Health, 1936.

Eddy, W. H., Nutrition.

Hindhede, Fuldkommen Sundhed, 1934.

Hornibrook, E. A., Whole Meal, 1927.

Lane, W. A., Blazing the Health Trail.

Lane, W. A., Diseases of Civilization.

Lane, W. A., Secrets of Good Health.

McKellop, M., Food Values, 1925.

Rose, M. S., Feeding the Family, 1934.

Sherman, H. C., Food and Health.

Ullmann, E. V., Diet in Sinus Infections and Colds, 1934.

Journal of the American Dietetic Association, July, 1932, pp. 133-155.

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, Footnotes

Footnotes

1. Doctrine and Covenants 89:17, 16.

2. McCollum and Simmonds, The Newer Knowledge of Nutrition, 1925, p. 129.

3. Swanson, Wheat Flour and Diet, pp. 105-107.

4. Rose, M. S., Feeding the Family, 1934, pp. 172, 196.

5. Forbes, Bulletin No. 256, Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station.

6. Chaney, and Ahlborn, Nutrition, pp. 218-219.

7. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, July, 1932, p. 147.

8. Rose, M. S., Feeding the Family, 1934, pp. 150, 158, 159.

9. Ibid., pp. 158, 172, 196.

10. Ibid., pp. 172, 196.

11. The Staff of Life, New Health Society of Great Britain, pp. 15, 16.

12. As reported by Dr. McCarrison, Director, Deficiency Disease Inquiry of Pasteur Institute, Coonor, South India.

13. Lane, Wm. A., Blazing the Health Trail, 1929, p. 31; also, Hindhede, Fuldkommen Sundhed, p. 156.

14. Lane, W. A., Diseases of Civilization, 1929, p. 55.

15. Sure, Barnett, Hygeia, September, 1937, p. 792. See, also, Hoffman, Frederick L., Diet and Cancer, 1937.


 

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, p. 199

Chapter 14

“CORN FOR THE OX”

“Corn for the ox and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals.” [fn1]

Food for Animals. The above statement in the Word of Wisdom implies that seeds of a certain plant may serve the needs of one kind of animal better than of another. Little careful study has as yet been made of this subject, yet present knowledge confirms well this principle foretold in the Word of Wisdom.

Varying Composition of Foodstuffs. While much has been learned about nutrition during the last few decades, nevertheless every sane student of the subject is convinced that the borders of nutritional knowledge will continue to be extended during the coming years. That which has been learned may be safely used, but it will be added to, for better use, as new discoveries are made.

This is especially evident in the study of the component parts of the commonest foodstuffs. Most of them may contain protein, but not necessarily the same kind of protein; many may contain fat, but not with the same properties; all may contain carbohydrates, but of different kinds. It does not follow that every kind of protein, fat or carbohydrate has the same nutritive value for every kind of animal.

Then there may be present in foodstuffs some unknown substances of distinct physiological effects, many of them as yet undetermined. This whole field is only partly explored. Whenever it is touched new knowledge is uncovered.

Physiological Effects of Different Rations. Moreover, it has long been recognized, though poorly defended, that the same food or ration, though complete according to present standards, may not have the same effect on different animals. Each class of animals has its own specific nutritive needs and responses. Likewise, two different rations, both apparently complete, may have very different effects on the same class of animals. For example, two investigators, Watson and Hunter, [fn2] fed one lot of rats with boiled oatmeal and skim milk, and another with bread and skim milk. Of the fourteen rats fed the oatmeal, twelve died; of the rats fed bread, none died. In another experiment, of 93 young, born of meat-fed rats, only 19 were alive at the end of two months, while of 97 young, born of bread and milk fed rats, 82 were alive and healthy at the end of the experimental period. The foods, oatmeal, bread and meat all met dietary standards, but bread and milk was the best combination for the rats.

“Corn for the Ox”. One of the most enlightening experiments in this field was conducted at the State Agricultural Experiment Station of the University of Wisconsin. [fn3]

Sixteen shorthorn heifer calves, six months old, were divided into four lots of four animals each. All were fed normal rations balanced according to approved standards. However, one lot was fed wholly with products of the corn plant– grain, stover and gluten feed; another with products of the wheat plant– wheat meal, straw and gluten feed, the third with products of the oat plant, and the last with a ration made up one-third each of the corn, wheat and oat rations.

The experiment was continued throughout four years. At various intervals the animals were weighed and photographed. Digestion tests were made, urine and other excreta analyzed, the milk weighed and tested; several of the animals were slaughtered and the meat and fat subjected to chemical study. It was a very thorough and painstaking experiment.

Almost from the beginning the different rations had different effects upon the animals. All increased in weight but the gain was largest with the corn-fed and smallest with the wheat-fed animals. After a few months it was noticed that in addition to the increase in weight, the corn-fed animals looked best, had smoother coats, fuller barrels, and were generally in a better state of nutrition; while the animals that were wheat-fed looked worst, with rough coats, small of barrel, gaunt and thin in appearance as if in a low state of nutrition.

More conclusive results were obtained when the cows had calves. The corn-fed cows carried their calves to within a few days of the normal time, but the wheat-fed mothers dropped their calves two to five weeks before the calculated time. The calves from corn-fed cows weighed an average of 73 pounds at birth; from wheat-fed cows, 46 pounds. All of the calves from the corn-fed cows lived and were vigorous and healthy; while of the four calves born to the wheat-fed group one was born dead, one died 12 hours and another 12 days after birth.

At the next time of calving, the corn-fed cows dropped four calves weighing 84 pounds each, all of which lived and were normal in every respect; but the wheat-fed group dropped only two calves, weighing 52 pounds each, one of which lived nine hours and the other 22 hours. One of the cows of this latter group died from anthrax and another had no more young.

The corn-fed cows gave most milk; the wheat-fed least. In one year the corn-fed group gave three times more milk than the wheat-fed animals.

These apparently decisive experiments were then made more emphatic. After three years, the ration given the cows was changed. The wheat-fed cows, which had done so poorly, were placed on a corn ration and soon became healthy and vigorous, looked better, and dropped normal calves at normal times. On the other hand, the vigorous corn-fed animals that were placed on the wheat ration declined in health, became afflicted with stiffness and swollen joints, and had to be returned to the corn ration.

The two groups of animals that received the oat and the mixed ration stood, in all the tests, between the corn and wheat-fed lots.

Conclusion. The above experiment certainly shows that corn is the best food for cattle. In the words of the experimenters, the wheat-fed cattle were unable to perform normally and with vigor the physiological processes of life; but the corn-fed animals were strong, healthy, in splendid condition, and their calves were of great vigor. With this experiment in mind it seems indeed remarkable that Joseph Smith so many years before the birth of the science of nutrition, would declare “corn for the ox”.

The value of “oats for the horse” and the other grains mentioned in verse 17 for the animals and beasts of the field is generally accepted knowledge today, though scientific demonstration is not yet available. In view of past experience, as new knowledge accumulates, the correctness of the other statements at the head of this chapter are likely to be more strikingly confirmed. The grains best suited to the needs of various animals will doubtless be found to correspond with the dictum of the Word of Wisdom.

Application to Human Beings. It is clearly evident that food has a profound effect on the health and well-being of the individual and of the race as well. If the food eaten during the period of pregnancy could have such an effect upon the general health and resistance of the cows and their young in the experiment just described, surely there must be similar results to be expected in the feeding of human mothers. This has been found to be true. Every wise expectant mother will study well the right kind of food to procure health and vigor for herself and her offspring. She will understand that she must secure blood especially rich in all vitamins and the necessary minerals as well as those furnishing other requirements. Children were meant to be well born; parents must understand what is their share in this grave responsibility.

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

Bogert, L. J., Nutrition and Physical Fitness.

McCollum, E. V., and Simonds, N., Newer Knowledge of Nutrition, 1925.

University of Wisconsin, College of Agriculture, Research Bulletin 17.

University of Wisconsin, College of Agriculture, Research Bulletin 49.

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, Footnotes

Footnotes

1. Doctrine and Covenants 89:17.

2. Journal of Physiology, vol. 34, p. 112, 1906.

3. Research Bulletin No. 17, 1912, Hart, McCollum, Steenbock and Humphrey.


 

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, p. 206

Chapter 15

“MEAT . . . . SPARINGLY”

“Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly; and it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.” [fn1]

Building Foods or “Protein”. Protein is the name given to the food constituents which are used in the body to produce growth in the young, and to repair or renew the tissues torn down by the stress of life at all ages. Protein differs from fats and carbohydrates in ultimate composition, in the possession of the element nitrogen. Proteins are found in all natural foodstuffs, but of varying composition, in differing proportions and with varying digestibility. The many proteins differ also in nutritive value. For instance, the proteins in wheat are not as useful for some animals as are the proteins in corn. It is well established that the proteins are made up of certain chemical compounds, known as amino acids, of which there are many. The difference in the proteins is possibly due to the different amino acids of which they are composed. It has been shown recently that ten amino acids are indispensable to body growth; and that the many others are not needed. [fn2] This whole subject is being studied intensively in several laboratories and much new information may shortly be expected which will clarify numerous obscure problems in nutrition. Meanwhile, the fact remains that proteins are indispensable for the maintenance of life.

The following table of selected analyses, together with the brief table in chapter 10, illustrates the presence of protein in all ordinary foodstuffs. The percentages vary, but protein is always present.

Proteins Fats Calories
per lb.
Beef (loin) …………….. 15.9 17.3 1025
Beef (kidney) …………… 16.6 4.8 520
Pork (ham) ……………… 12.4 50.0 2345
Chicken ………………… 19.3 16.3 1045
Codfish ………………… 16.5 0.4 325
Halibut ………………… 18.6 5.2 565
Salmon …………………. 22.0 12.8 950
Beans (navy, dried) ……… 22.5  1.8 1605
Beans (soy, dried) ………. 33.0 21.0 1993
Peas …………………… 24.6  1.0 1655
Lentils ………………… 25.7 1.0 1620
Walnuts ………………… 18.4 64.4 3200
Wheat Kernels …………… 13.8 1.9 1675

There are also small amounts of inorganic mineral matters in flesh foods, usually under one percent.

Animal Protein. Meat, fish, eggs, milk and cheese are foods rich in protein– the white of egg and lean meat being nearly pure protein. The proteins in these animal foods are easily and completely (97%) digested, and in most cases are valuable as healthful articles of diet. Milk, cheese and eggs are most valuable and should form the bulk of the protein requirement. To many persons these have the added advantage that they do not require the taking of life. However, diet experts agree that a certain amount of flesh food is beneficial, even necessary, in the normal diet, especially in severe, cold climates.

Milk, an important source of protein, contains other valuable food substances. It is a well balanced food, with about 87% of water, the remainder being 3.3% of protein, 4.0% of fat, 5.0% of milk sugar and 0.7% of mineral matters including calcium and phosphorus. Milk also contains vitamins A, D, G, and some B, especially if cows are fed on green pasture. Cheese is the protein separated from milk, often associated with some mineral and fat. Butter is the fat separated from milk. Whey, which contains the milk sugar and most of the minerals of the milk, is an excellent food. It is often evaporated to form a palatable cheese, widely used in European nations, and could, with profit to the health, be more often used in this country.

Eggs contain about 74.0% of water. The 26% of dry matter is made up of protein and fat in about equal proportions. The fat, however, as also the vitamins A, B, D, E, and G, and the mineral salts occur in the yolk. The white of egg is rich in vitamin G.

Vegetable Protein. Protein is found in all plant tissues in varying amounts. Dried peas, beans and lentils contain as much protein as lean beef and even the grains contain much protein. However, since vegetable proteins are rather dense and solid in character, they are digested less rapidly and completely than animal proteins. Atwater reports the percentage digestibility of cereals to be 85, of dried legumes 78, of vegetables 83, and of fruits 85. This lower digestibility of vegetables as compared with animal protein does not of itself affect the value of vegetable protein in properly supporting human life.

It is believed by many that grains, fruits and vegetables are chiefly valuable as foods for other than their protein content. This is incorrect, for a properly selected low meat or wholly vegetarian diet, if supplemented with milk, cheese and eggs, will support life completely. The above conclusion is fully borne out by experiments carried out by men of the highest professional training and integrity. (see chapter 10)

Perhaps the most notable investigation of the kind in this country was conducted in 1903 and 1904 by Dr. Russell H. Chittenden, then Director of the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University. He and four of his professional colleagues, with thirteen men detailed from the Hospital Corps of the United States Army, and eight university students trained in athletics, were placed on a diet low in animal protein, in some cases wholly vegetarian. The metabolism of these men was followed with detailed scrutiny. The men remained in good health or improved in health, and showed an increase in physical vigor and strength. Dr. Chittenden concluded from these exhaustive experiments that the ordinary daily intake of animal protein may be reduced one-third or one-half with distinct bodily benefit; that “too great indulgence in flesh foods may have its serious side”; and that all good foods may be used safely in moderation. [fn3]

Experiments of equal or greater importance have been conducted for nearly half a century by Dr. M. Hindhede of Denmark. [fn4] Under his leadership in the Danish Institute of Nutrition, numerous notable experiments have shown conclusively the beneficial effects of a low protein diet, and also the possibility of subsisting on an exclusively vegetarian diet with resulting increased mental and bodily health.

During the World War Dr. Hindhede had the opportunity of carrying out the greatest large scale nutrition experiment in the world’s history. The war blockade compelled Denmark which imported cattle and hog feeds, to slaughter and sell four-fifths of its hogs and to reduce the dairy cattle by 34%. The farm products thus saved were made a part of the new dietary of the Danish people. A low meat, that is a low protein diet, became necessary. A “war bread” was made from whole rye flour, mixed with about 15% of wheat bran. By governmental order, under Hindhede’s advice, each person (from October, 1917) was allowed a daily diet, carefully weighed out, of very little meat, small amounts of butter and milk, and substantial quantities of the above bread, cereals and potatoes. Alcoholic beverages were forbidden; tea and coffee were unavailable. Ordinarily, the average person would turn up his nose at such a diet. Within a few months, the beneficial effects of this diet upon the national health became evident. During the year of the experiment the Danish death rate fell nearly one-fifth, and became the lowest ever known in Europe. When, in October, 1918, the influenza epidemic broke out, Denmark was the only non-combatant nation in Europe with a death rate, during the course of the disease, below the pre-war mortality records. Abstinence from alcohol, tea and coffee, no doubt was a great factor in winning these remarkable results, but careful statistical studies have shown that the simple, natural diet was a prime factor in reducing the normal death rate and in giving the nation resistance against the influenza scourge.

From these experiments, and many others that might be quoted, it may be held that men can live well on vegetable protein, alone, but that flesh foods need not be prohibited. An understanding moderation in dietetics is of first importance, and is the spirit of the message of the Word of Wisdom.

Meat as Food. Meat dishes are easily prepared, are very appetizing, and permit of a pleasing variety in the menu. If ease of preparation and digestion were the chief consideration, one could say offhand that animal foods should form the bulk of the protein supply. But the effects of excessive meat eating show that meats should be eaten in great moderation.

During digestion, chemical changes occur in the stomach and intestines which make a part of the food soluble so that through the intricate process known as assimilation, it may be absorbed into the blood stream. Many products of meat metabolism are distinctly acid (uric acid and others) and may cause serious harm to the body if excessive in quantity. Besides, the waste products from meat, that is, protein-metabolism, are disposed of through the kidneys, therefore, excessive meat eating may place an undue strain upon these delicate organs. It is well substantiated that kidney diseases increase in a community with an increase of meat in the diet above that desirable for good health.

The undigested portion of food is passed through the intestines. If too much meat is eaten this undigested portion may decompose in the bowels, and this intestinal putrefaction is usually attended with discomfort and ill health.

Indeed, intestinal poisoning from excessive meat eating is not uncommon. This has been shown by numerous experiments. For example, Dr. Pawlov, world famous physiologist, in a delicate operation, directed the blood of a dog directly from the intestine to the heart, without passing through the liver. As long as the dog was fed vegetable food, he lived on as usual, but when he was fed flesh foods he suffered convulsions and died. This would indicate that in the decomposition of animal protein poisonous products are formed which are removed to some extent by the liver. Carniverous wild animals are characterized by large livers. Man has a relatively small liver. [fn5]

Within recent months it has been shown experimentally that rats fed a high protein diet are likely to become subject to nephritis. [fn6] Moreover, the heavy meat eater does not as a rule eat sufficient amounts of the other necessary foods. Milk and its products are seldom used and only a small supply of vegetables. This, as has been shown in earlier chapters, is a dangerous practice; especially since an excessive use of meats, always acid-forming, disturbs the acid-alkaline balance of the body. The ingestion of the necessary minerals and vitamins is also diminished when meat forms a large part of the dietary. (see chapter 9)

The old doctrine that meat is peculiarly able to endow men with strength, endurance and courage has long been shown to be fallacious. Vegetarians have often excelled in competitive sports. This was clearly shown in the Chittenden and Hindhede experiments to which reference has already been made.

The economic phase of meat eating is important. Meat proteins are more expensive than vegetable proteins. The animal often consumes six to eight pounds of vegetable protein, and other valuable foods, to produce one pound of animal protein. This economic waste points to the desirability of the substitution of vegetable for animal protein, in many cases.

Naturally, children need more easily digested and assimilated protein food than adults, since they have constant need to form new body substances. This is best met by the use of milk, eggs, and cheese. Feeding meat to children is questioned by many safe authorities. Therefore, where the income is small, children must be given special consideration in all dietary matters so that they may receive sufficient protein in other than animal forms. The nursing or expectant mother has also special need of protein and her needs are of prime importance.

It must be emphasized again that while there must be some protein in the food every day, it may be other than meat protein. It is unwise to eat meat and economize in milk, cheese and eggs. In summer, when the consumption of meat should be curtailed, great care should be exercised to secure protein from other sources.

How Much Protein is Necessary? One may well ask: how much animal or vegetable protein should be eaten to keep well? Food chemists and dietitians have agreed, with few exceptions, that as a general guide about one-sixth of the food eaten (on any basis) should be protein, and that this amount should be subdivided into animal and vegetable proteins. [fn7]

The actual amount of protein required would differ somewhat in different climates and for people of different occupations. Naturally, those who perform the most vigorous kinds of work need more building food (protein) than those who work in offices. It is generally agreed from experimental evidence that a man weighing 150 pounds may get along on one ounce of protein daily, but that as a matter of safety this amount should be doubled. Even this is a low protein amount. The confusion in this field is due to the fact that many dietary standards have been based upon actual practice, often faulty and opposed to the best knowledge. Children need less, and people doing hard physical work need more. The average high total amount of protein for an adult male is one hundred grams (3 1/2 oz. dry weight) per day. Other investigators hold that half or two-thirds of this amount is sufficient to maintain a person in good health. Of this total daily protein, not more than one-third need be from the animal kingdom– as flesh in cold weather, or milk, eggs or cheese– while the other two-thirds may be from a vegetable source. [fn8]

If much more than this amount of protein (3 1/2 oz.) be eaten the body may suffer. Expensive protein is burned in place of the cheaper and more healthful carbohydrates. Mary Swartz Rose claims that if children have an ample supply of milk, eggs and vegetable protein, meat is unnecessary. [fn9] When the child is eight or nine years old it may be given a little meat, not more than one ounce a day, [fn10] or better, a little more two or three times a week. Even during adolescence, it should be taken in moderation, from two to four ounces a day at most. [fn11]

Economy in Meat Eating. One-third of the American dietary consists of meat. This is too high both from the physiological and the economic point of view. Meat is necessarily expensive. Only a small portion of the vegetable protein fed to an animal becomes available as human food. Often there is a loss of three-fourths of the vegetable protein used in the transformation. Undoubtedly, if the present amount of meat consumed in America were cut in half, better health, greater resistance to disease, keener zest of life, and truer enjoyment would wait upon the people. Dr. Sherman’s advice that not more than one-sixth of the food budget should be spent for meat instead of one-third as at present should be heeded. [fn12]

Statistics indicate that in America there is a distinct trend towards the reduction of the consumption of meat, with an increase in the use of dairy products, vegetables, and fruits– a trend towards a more wholesome dietary. A great variety of desirable food products are now found in every village, to be used by all who desire health.

Carnivorous Men and Beasts. The Eskimo and all carnivorous animals live almost entirely on meat and fish, with an addition of a good part of blubber or fat, and maintain good health. What is the explanation? First, it must be remembered that the Word of Wisdom was given to people living in a temperate climate and under civilized conditions. Second, and of more importance, flesh-eating animals feed upon all parts of the carcass, the internal organs as well as the muscle meat, and often drink the blood. From such sources they obtain their minerals and vitamins. Third, they eat their meat raw or practically so, and thus preserve the vitamins which would be destroyed by cooking. That is, they eat natural foods. Fourth, in season they eat many eggs from sea birds, milk from reindeer. Both the milk and the eggs are rich in calcium and vitamins.

Thus nature provides for the need which exists in sections where meat must be the main food. These Northern people could not, in a hot climate, eat meat to the same degree, cooked as chops, steaks and roasts, and survive in health over long periods of time, and for generations.

A Comparison. A comparison of the findings of modern science regarding the eating of meat, with the injunction of the Word of Wisdom given over one hundred years ago, is most interesting. Two modern scientists have used almost the exact words employed by the Prophet Joseph Smith. Dr. Mottram, Professor of Physiology in the University of London says:

“Meat is chiefly of value as a source of protein. . . . It is, however, wise to use it in moderation (italics ours) and to substitute milk and cheese for it whenever possible. This is true from the points of view of individual and national economy as explained above. The idea that meat promotes energy above all foods is a myth that lingers on. Possibly the myth has its roots in some old folk lore, for the scientific ground, if there ever was any for it, disappeared years ago. . . . To sum up: Meats are dear foods; they could be partly or wholly replaced by cheese and milk.” [fn13]

Another distinguished scientist, Dr. Henry C. Sherman, Professor of Chemistry in Columbia University says:

“The undesirable putrefactive bacteria find a favorable medium in meat. It is partly for this reason that meat should be eaten sparingly (italics ours) and when eaten should always be well chewed so as to reduce it to the smallest possible particles in the hope that its putrefactive bacteria will be largely killed by the gastric juice.” [fn14]

Moderation in meat eating is taught by nearly all students of nutrition. The Word of Wisdom declares that meats are to be used sparingly.

“In Times of Famine and Cold”. Meats have the power to sustain life for a time if nothing else is eaten, provided that the blood and internal organs– heart, kidneys, liver and brains– are eaten. Under such conditions, the proteins which normally are body builders are burned and used as energy producers. It is clear therefore that in times of famine there could be no objection to using meat as the only article of diet.

In hot weather the meat intake should be reduced, and vegetable proteins substituted.

Professor Mottram, speaking of climate and meat eating says:

“Proteins are rather wastefully utilized by the body and a point for the vegetarian is that there is less wastefulness with cereal proteins than with meat proteins. A practical outcome is that in hot weather, or in the tropics, the proteins should be cut to the minimum and vegetable protein practically substituted for animal protein.” [fn15] (Italics ours.)

The Word of Wisdom Confirmed. At the time that the Word of Wisdom was given, meat, when it could be obtained, was largely used by all classes. It was generally looked upon as the best and most necessary food for full health. Those who raised their voices in opposition to this view were held to be fanatical, untrustworthy “food faddists”. Alas! Some people hold that opinion today!

It was therefore a courageous departure from accepted practice to teach that meat should be used “sparingly”, and further to suggest that man may live without meat as implied in the words, “they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold or famine”.

The prophetic power of Joseph Smith is emphasized in the recent demonstration by the modern science of nutrition that meat should, indeed, form a minor part of the human dietary, and that, in fact, the plant kingdom contains the necessary food constituents characteristic of meat.

The Word of Wisdom does not contain a prohibition against meat eating, but urges its sparing use. Unfortunately, this advice is not generally observed, and man’s health suffers in consequence. Many people eat too much meat; a few do not eat enough.

The advice in the Word of Wisdom concerning the use of meat is proof of the inspiration of the modern Prophet. How could any man of his own knowledge dare to teach, in the name of God, so long ago– long before the science of human nutrition was born– truths which coincide so startlingly with modern findings? Not one word in the revelation could be changed for the better by the most advanced food chemist of our day!

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

Chittenden, Physiological Economy in Nutrition, 1913.

Davis, A., Optimum Health, 1936.

Fisher, I., and Fisk, How to Live, 1931.

Hindhede, M., Die Neue Ernaehrungslehre, 1923.

Hindhede, M., Fuldkommen Sundhed, 1934.

Hindhede, M., Sund, Billig, og Velsmagende Kost, 1935.

Lusk, G., The Science of Nutrition, 1919.

McCollum, E. V., and Becker, J. E., Food, Nutrition and Health, 1935.

McCollum, E. V., and Simonds, N., Newer Knowledge of Nutrition, 1925.

Mottram, V. H., Food and the Family.

Rose, M. S., Feeding the Family, 1934.

Sherman, H. C., Food and Health, 1934.

Stanley, L., and Cline, J. A., Foods, Their Selection and Preparation, 1935.

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, Footnotes

Footnotes

1. Doctrine and Covenants 89:12, 13; see also, 49:18, 19.

2. Rose, W. C., Science, October 1, 1937, p. 298.

3. Chittenden, Physiological Economy in Nutrition, 1913.

4. Hindhede. M., Die Neue Ernaehrungslehre, 1923; also Hindhede, M., Fuldkommen Sundhed, 1934.

5. Hindhede, M., Fuldkommen Sundhed, 1934, pp. 142, 143, 1934.

6. Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 109, No. 15 October, 1937.

7. Sherman, H. C., Food Products, 1924, p. 250.

8. Mottram, V. H., Food and the Family, p. 130.

9. Rose, M. S., Feeding the Family, p. 173; also Bogert, L. J., Nutrition and Physical Fitness, p. 419.

10. Ibid., p 183.

11. Ibid., p. 196.

12. Sherman, H. C., Food Products, 1924, p. 250.

13. Mottram, V. H., Food and the Family, pp. 216, 217, Nisbet & Co.

14. Sherman, H. C., Food and Health, pp. 61, 62, 1934.

15. Mottram, V. H., Food and the Family, p. 76, Nisbet & Co.


 

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, p. 219

Chapter 16

HEALTHFUL DRINKS

“And barley for mild drinks, as also other grain.” [fn1]

Definition. The Word of Wisdom is explicit as to what man shall not drink but in only one place does it mention what shall be drunk for health. If the drinks most commonly used by man are injurious then one must define and advocate some which are appetizing and health-giving. It is clearly evident that the “will and word of the Lord” is not intended to be a “thou shalt not” for all appetizing drinks but only for those which are definitely injurious to the human system.

The term “hot drinks” (which are forbidden in the Word of Wisdom) may be fairly defined as follows: Any drink regardless of temperature, which contains a drug the action of which affects the heart or nervous system and which is habit-forming. (see chapter 7) Such a definition would include not only all kinds of alcoholic drinks, coffee, tea and chocolate, but any and all drinks, advertised to “give you a lift” or “pick you up in 5 minutes”. It includes iced tea and coffee, for they contain the same drugs as when hot. Moreover, drinks that are icy cold are as injurious as those taken too hot, whether soda fountain drinks or home made fruit drinks. Ice water is equally undesirable.

Water and Health. The drink most precious is clear, pure water, which is by far the most satisfying thirst quencher. Shakespeare speaks of “honest water which ne’er left man in the mire”. Another writer has said that “drinking water neither makes a man sick, nor in debt, nor his wife a widow.”

“Beautiful water! There is no blood in its crystal depths, no madness and no murder in its foam! It never broke a mother’s heart! It never ruined a reputation! It never sent a poor wretch shrieking to the gallows! No poison bubbles on its brink! Never did pale-faced wife, or starving child, or broken-hearted mother weep into it a bitter tear; never did drunkard howl back from his deathbed a fearful curse upon it! There is no curse here. . . .

“Young women, in the glory of your womanly beauty, speak out and tell us; young men, in the majesty of your intellectual power, stand up and tell us. Have we not common sense on our side when we would dash from the lips of the young forever the drink that debases and degrades, and give them as their best and purest beverage the gift of God, brewed in beautiful places for His children?” [fn2]

The author of the above is John B. Gough, the remarkable orator. He uttered the words with a glass of water in his hand.

About two-thirds of the body weight is water. All the processes of living, including digestion, depend upon the circulation of liquids freely within the body. It is the concensus of opinion that since an average size man loses by means of the lungs, skin and kidneys, about 80 ounces of water every twenty-four hours; and as this loss has to be made good, about four pints (eight glasses) of water must be taken in an average day.

This should be taken largely between meals and not more than a glass at a time. It should be taken slowly and whether or not one feels thirsty, for the need is there even though not recognized. However, no hard and fast rules may be given, since the amount should vary according to the activity of the individual, the warmth of the day, and the amount of liquid present in the food.

Most people are unaware that many of their physical discomforts, including “hacking coughs” and frequent colds, are a result of an insufficient supply of water as a part of their daily diet. Also, the waste products of metabolism may be completely carried off through the eliminative organs only when there is a sufficient liquid intake. However, one must not take too much liquid for then it becomes a tax on the kidneys and bladder. Again, moderation and intelligence are the keywords of health.

Vegetable Juices. These are very desirable in the daily menu, for they contain in abundance different mineral salts and vitamins. By right combinations and judicious seasoning they may be made very palatable as well as nutritious. Such vegetables as carrots, beets, celery and rutabagas are especially desirable for their vitamin and mineral content. The well equipped modern kitchen has a vegetable juice extractor and the wise homemaker serves a raw vegetable or vegetable juice to her family at least once a day. They are appetizing and refreshing and by proper seasoning make a real health drink.

Fruit Juices. There are many occasions when people enjoy and need a drink other than water– one which has color, a piquant taste, a health-giving tang. Such drinks, however, should add to one’s health, not detract therefrom. There are many healthful drinks which will do just that. All the citrus fruits, pomegranate, pineapple and some other fruits yield juices that may be taken as prepared by nature without added sugar. The juices of other fruits may be diluted with water and slightly sweetened, preferably with honey. Fruit juices, if taken fresh, are nearly always palatable and invigorating, refreshing as well as healthful. Moreover, they contain much of the precious mineral matter and vitamins of the fruits.

Unfermented juices of the grape, apple, strawberry, raspberry and other fruits make drinks “par excellence”, especially if home-made and of good flavored grapes such as the Concord, and ripe fruits in season. They should not be too sweet and may be sweetened with honey.

Warm drinks or punches, indicated in cold weather, may be served in many possible variations as suggested above for cold drinks. The flavor may be varied with different spices or fruit combinations. Such drinks add to health if not too sweet and give one a feeling of warmth and well-being.

Changes of flavor in drinks made from fruit juices may be had by skillful blending with mint or ginger (ground or candied), or other spices, such as cloves, cinnamon, cardemom, or by adding ginger ale or for a little tang some carbonated water. A decided change of flavor may be had by adding to a drink a small amount of the non-alcoholic syrup called grenadine, sold in large stores. One guest with epicurean taste was served the following fruit drink: equal quantities of lemon and orange juice, a little cut fruit in season; honey added to suit the taste, a dash of grenadine and enough carbonated water to increase the palatability of the drink. He remarked that it was so good he couldn’t believe it was non-alcoholic. There are many possible variations of such delicious health drinks. Why then tamper with those which are dangerously habit-forming as well as injurious?

The Cocktail Habit. The custom of serving cocktails has come into vogue because alcoholic beverages depress the higher brain centers and allow the lower controls to come into ascendancy. Thus certain inhibitions and cautions are removed, and the drinker is supposed to become more talkative and jolly. Also, the cocktail is supposed to rouse a jaded appetite.

Everyone should know that cocktails are much more harmful than beer or wine, also that a person with a “jaded appetite” should not eat, especially a heavy meal. It is a poor compliment for a hostess to insinuate that her guest has to be put in good humor by artificial and dangerous stimulation or for a guest to come to dinner with little appetite for the meal his hostess has gone to much trouble and expense to prepare. If the guest comes with a normal, healthy appetite, the taking of drinks and snacks before the meal is apt to lessen just so much the appetite and the enjoyment of the meal to follow. From all angles the cocktail habit is not a good one. The wise hostess chooses as guests only those who are congenial. When a good time is to be had, a person needs all his powers to enjoy it to the full. One’s highest self must be in the ascendancy if one is to be an ideal hostess or guest, or if one is to have any real pleasure and enjoyment. How may anything be enjoyed to the full if one is only “half there”?

Health cocktails such as the following are permissible and may be served if desired. A citrus cocktail, (described by Adolphe Menjou as his favorite) made of equal portions of orange and lemon or grapefruit juice with a sprinkling of ground ginger; also those made of tomato, oyster, clam or any preferred vegetable juices mixed as desired. One used in England, called “Grand Man”, consists of an oyster in tomato juice with lemon, a dash of Worcestershire sauce and paprika. The “Orange Honey Cocktail”, a real “pick me up”, one that does not “let you down”, allows for each person one-third cup of orange juice, 1 tablespoon each of lemon juice and honey, and a pinch of salt. Mix in shaker. Honey is a great restorer and is one of nature’s choicest natural sweets. It is good for young and old, in moderation.

Grain Drinks. Many people claim that since barley as a drink is mentioned in the Word of Wisdom it must refer to beer, for barley as malt is used therein. Certainly, that cannot be the meaning, for, when grain is fermented, alcohol is formed and alcohol is explicitly forbidden. How then may the reference be interpreted?

Barley and other grains are often browned lightly in the oven and then ground and made as coffee, into a brown cereal drink. Dry crusts of bread are sometimes so used. Such drinks are permissible unless browned too much and taken in too large a quantity. The excessive heat required to brown any food– even toast– destroys all vitamins and if it is browned too much it tends to cause a deterioration in the starch and fiber of the grain. Therefore browned grain drinks must be used with discretion.

“Harvest drinks”, those made from natural grains and wheat or rice bran, are very healthful because of their vitamins and may be made appetizing. They are usually made by pouring boiling water over the grains or bran, boiling a few minutes, and allowing the mixture to stand until cool. It may then be served with milk and brown sugar, or with the addition of lemon or other fruit juices, or spices or even hops and other herbs may be added to give flavor and to tone up the system. Such health drinks made from the extracts of barley, oatmeal, bran of wheat or rice, or even from the germinated barley or malt, are very healthful.

Milk and Egg Drinks. Milk and egg drinks are really foods and must be taken slowly and thoroughly mixed with saliva before swallowing. They are actually foods, nutritious and desirable for strength-giving or upbuilding purposes, but can hardly be classed as drinks, to meet the need of the body for liquids.

Herb Infusions. Infusions of herbs or herb teas are used in many countries of Europe. In France one may be served “infusion” of dried leaves of the verbena, mint and many herbs or the flowers of camomile, orange, or linden trees, much more frequently than the real China or India tea. A consequent improvement in health may definitely be noticed. They act as a tonic to the system and prove very beneficial. Every one remembers the hop tea, dandelion or camomile teas of grandmother’s day which were given as the annual spring tonic. There are many times when warm (not too hot) herb drinks are indicated and desirable.

Names for Health Drinks. Bright and intriguing names for health drinks are most desirable and do much to make them successful. Some suggestions are: Grape Delight, Elysian Draught, Nectar of Eden, Desert Refresher, Western Glory, Golden Slipper, Apple Royal, Celestial Cooler, Peach Pop, Gingerette, Harvest Home, Wisbru (a bran extract), Stokos, Barlikos, Raisin Tea and many others. One may concoct different combinations and devise one’s own names, for there are many possibilities. Ingenuity in making fancy names for permissible infusions avoiding the use of the words “tea” or “coffee” should be exercised.

Ciders and Root Beers. Cider and home-made root beers may be harmless if taken when freshly made but if allowed to ferment at all they contain alcohol (which gives the tang) and are just as harmful to the body as though they were not home-made. Every fermented drink contains alcohol and it has been definitely shown that any degree of alcohol is injurious to the brain and nerves as well as being forbidden by the “word and will of the Lord”.

Many a confirmed drunkard and derelict traces his passion for the “deadly drink” to the so-called harmless root beers or hard ciders prepared by father and mother in his childhood’s home. Since there are so many really harmless as well as delicious drinks one wonders why otherwise good parents will put temptation in the way of themselves and loved ones. It may be true that a person doesn’t get “dead” drunk on lightly fermented root beer or soft cider; but who knows when the taste for liquor which, a sleeping giant within, may be aroused. Besides, if son or daughter is given fermented root beer or cider by mother at home, why not take the “doctored” punch from sweetheart or friend at the party? The risk is so great that here the part of wisdom is to shun the very semblance of a taste for alcohol.

“Soda Pops”. The occasional use of some artificially flavored drink, made from carbonated water and syrups may not be harmful; but, certainly, one should not make a habit of taking such drinks. Too much carbonated water may become decidedly irritating to the delicate linings of the alimentary tract, and, with other unnatural food and drink may in time cause distress. Drink as well as food is best for man when made in nature’s laboratory from fruit and vegetable juices, mixed with pure water.

Chemical Flavors and Colorings. A warning must be given against soft drinks, candies and all foods flavored or colored with chemical substances of unknown physiological properties. Such flavoring extracts or colorings should not be used unless it is definitely known that they are harmless. Since such chemical products are much cheaper, there is a temptation to use them in preference to the known natural flavorings and vegetable colorings. The long continued use of harmful ingredients, even in small doses, may become dangerous.

In the magazine Life of March 1, 1937, a series of pictures show recent efforts to recognize and cure cancer. On page 13 is a picture of skin cancer on a rat produced by “repeated applications of benzpyrene, a coal-tar derivative” which is one of the recognized cancer-promoting agents. There is little likelihood of benzpyrene in artificial flavors and colors, but there may be other coal-tar derivatives as yet unrecognized which are mildly irritating to animal tissue and which may be used, innocently enough, by manufacturers. Before using “pops” and manufactured drinks, no matter how well advertised or recommended, if they are artificially colored (or flavored, and prepared synthetically, usually from coal-tar products) one should be certain that they are harmless. The delicate linings of stomach and alimentary tract are much too precious to be experimented with because questionable artificial flavors are cheaper. Certain it is that ulcers of the stomach, which often lead to cancer, are greatly on the increase, for which there must be some cause or causes.

Again one comes back to the advice given in the letter as by the spirit of the Word of Wisdom. Natural foods, as prepared by Mother Nature, are best for man and beast. Beware of all artificial synthetic food products or drinks made by man for commercial gain. It is wiser to spend a little more money for natural foods than to spend it to cure or alleviate a diseased body.

Neither man’s food nor his drink should be monotonous and of this there is no need, for nature has been lavish in her bestowal of health-giving delights.

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

Berg, Ragnar, Die Naehrungs und Genussmittel, 1929.

Crichton-Browne, Sir James, What We Drink, 1930.

Kneipp, Sebastian, My Water Cure, 1893.

Nye, Noel, What Shall We Drink, 1933.

Mottram, V. H., Food and the Family.

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, Footnotes

Footnotes

1. Doctrine and Covenants 89:17.

2. Nye, Noel, What Shall We Drink? p. 7.


 

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, p. 229

Chapter 17

“PRUDENCE AND THANKSGIVING”

“All these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.” [fn1]

Wisdom and Health. The Word of Wisdom is essentially a nutritional guide. Other factors of health are not discussed in it. Yet on various occasions the Prophet Joseph Smith received revelations that bear in part on the maintenance of health.

All things, even the practice of the Word of Wisdom, should be done in wisdom, in moderation and with the right appreciation of life’s requirements and opportunities. That is made clear in verse 11 where the statement is made with reference to desirable foods, “all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.”

Prudence. The dictionary defines prudence as the quality of being wise, frugal, having foresight and knowledge and using good judgment. This definition certainly includes wisdom in the use of knowledge. Moderation is an essential principle in every human activity including the Word of Wisdom. Food fads and fancies do not overtake the prudent man who weighs with intelligence all the requirements of life, and practices them in moderation. Such prudence was early indicated to Joseph Smith, the Prophet: “Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength”. [fn2]

If prudence is knowledge applied to daily needs, then one with an intelligent interest in food and good life habits is in no sense a faddist or crank. Indeed, every one should have such a sound fundamental knowledge of nutrition that it would be a very part of one-self and applied without conscious effort in everyday life.

A good wholesome diet composed of all nature’s food “in season” should be the rule– and one should learn to enjoy all natural foods– excluding none; for each food possesses some special element or substance needed by the body mechanism. In this practice, parents must set the right example to children who are unconscious imitators.

The prudent mother or provider of food must be intelligent in these matters and not believe all that is told by shrewd advertising whether by radio or the printed page. If she is prudent she knows that “conspiring men in the last days” have commercial interests at stake and are far more interested in their own pocket-book than in the public health. Her own and her family’s health depends upon knowledge of food values, more so today than at any time in the past. Knowledge and use of knowledge give health as well as power.

Thanksgiving. The term thanksgiving used in the text implies that one’s mental attitude should be right. To understand a subject and to apply its truths is important, but if one is cheerful and thankful for all blessings, the food and drink will be greatly enhanced to his good. Especially true is this of thanksgiving directed towards God and his goodness to men. Thanksgiving which recognizes the relationship of man to his Heavenly Father, brings the greatest happiness. For, man’s body is a mortal tabernacle for a spirit child of God and its care and development should be a sacred trust.

Work. Work is enjoined upon the Latter-day Saints. Honest labor is a blessing to man. Idleness is held in abhorrence. “Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer.” [fn3] Punishment follows idleness. “The idler shall be had in remembrance before the Lord.” [fn4] “Wo unto you poor men . . who will not labor with your own hands!” [fn5] Even Church membership may be forfeited by idleness. “Let every man be diligent in all things. And the idler shall not have place in the Church, except he repent and mend his ways.” [fn6] The wisdom of the requirement that men should work is now more evident than ever before. Health is promoted by the exercise of body and mind in honest labor. Much unnecessary suffering is the result of idleness, made possible by wealth or unemployment or derived from unnatural conditions in life.

Rest. Proper rest is also urged upon Latter-day Saints, especially sleep, which is “nature’s sweet restorer”. A few months before the Word of Wisdom was given, the following appeared in a revelation to Joseph Smith: “Cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and minds may be invigorated.” [fn7] That does not mean that one should sleep a certain minimum number of hours. In this requirement people differ. Nine hours is a minimum for some adults, while others seem to keep healthy on seven or less. Brigham Young’s division of the twenty-four hours is fair and moderate: Eight hours for work; eight hours for recreation, including eating, light home duties, Church activities and actual play; and eight hours for sleep. If some adults need less they should not feel that those who need more are lazy and slothful.

Children need much more sleep than adults, for growth and proper development. Authorities on child nutrition insist that many undernourished children are lacking not good food but proper rest. The body utilizes its food and restores its energy during rest and sleep. [fn8]

Change from routine duties is looked upon as a rest. The provision by which every member of the Church may become active in Church affairs, furnishes a high-grade, wholesome change from the regular bread-winning duties of life. “Every man who is obliged to provide for his own family, let him provide, and he shall in nowise lose his crown; and let him labor in the Church.” [fn9] The proper amount of sleep, occasional change of occupation, rest and actual play or recreation, are all essential to full health. The Church has demonstrated its power through its organizations to provide healthful change and recreation for its members.

A Sound Religious Philosophy. A correct mental attitude dependent upon a sound religious philosophy is equally necessary for good health. The mind is connected closely with the body, and is its master. Love will promote health; hate will undermine it. An angry person does not digest his food well, and other bodily reactions are upset. Here is a recipe for happiness among many that might be selected from the revelations to Joseph Smith: “See that ye love one another . . . as the gospel requires; . . . cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; . . . and above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace. Pray always.” [fn10] Faith, hope and charity, and a constant seeking after the truths of life and the universe, with a determination to accept them when found, form the foundation blocks for good health. A sound religious philosophy is a prerequisite for perfect health. The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in its fullness as restored through the ministry of Joseph Smith answers the questions lying deep in every human heart, and has contributed much to the unusual health record of Latter-day Saints.

The Future and Prudence. The most ardent Word of Wisdom enthusiasts cannot claim that this inspired document gives the last detailed word in nutritional advice. Scientific knowledge concerning man’s diet is yet in its infancy. Many new angles to old truths are constantly being discovered. When such are definitely established in the best laboratories of nutrition to be facts, not mere theories, then they may be accepted and used, and they will be found to be in harmony with the general principles set forth by the Word of Wisdom. The advice in the Word of Wisdom to use prudence in all these things implies that one should be ready to accept and apply new truth.

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

Bogert, L. J., Nutrition and Physical Fitness.

Cornaro, L., The Art of Living Long (Butler edition).

Davis, A., Optimum Health, 1936.

Lane, W. A., Secrets of Good Health.

Lane, W. A., Blazing the Health Trail.

Lane, W. A., The Diseases of Civilization.

Lorand, A., Old Age Deferred, 1910.

Rose, M. S., Feeding the Family, 1934.

Ullman, E. V., Diet in Sinus Infections and Colds.

Widtsoe, J. A., Discourses of Brigham Young, 1925.

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, Footnotes

Footnotes

1. Doctrine and Covenants 89:11.

2. Ibid., 10:4.

3. Doctrine and Covenants 42:42.

4. Ibid., 68:30.

5. Ibid., 56:17.

6. Ibid., 75:29.

7. Doctrine and Covenants 88:124.

8. Rose, M. S., Feeding the Family, p. 150.

9. Doctrine and Covenants 75:28.

10. Doctrine and Covenants 88:123-126.


 

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, p. 235

Chapter 18

REWARDS

“Showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints.” [fn1]

“And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones; and shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; and shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint. And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them.” [fn2]

Kinds of Rewards. The Word of Wisdom is “a principle with a promise” for the “benefit” of man. Obedience to it should therefore result in distinct advantage to man. Such beneficial effects have actually been observed among the Latter-day Saints.

During the one hundred years since the Word of Wisdom was given, it has been practiced to some degree by most of the members of the Church. Had it been practiced more completely, the results would have been more marked than they now are today. Yet even a partial observance of the Word of Wisdom has yielded noteworthy, really remarkable, results.

Three rewards are promised those who faithfully obey the Word of Wisdom. First, strength and vigor of body; second, protection against disease; and third, the possession of knowledge and wisdom, even “hidden treasures of knowledge”. A fourth reward is implied, namely “temporal salvation”, in which may be included economic welfare. Existing statistics confirm the promises so made. [fn3]

Vigor of Body. (See Chapter 2) Bodily vigor, as a result of obedience to the Word of Wisdom, is somewhat difficult to measure. However, the evidence of bodily vigor among the Latter-day Saints is convincing.

The birth rate is an indication of sound health. Among the Latter-day Saints it is large, ranging in the neighborhood of 30 per thousand of population. In twenty-five of the leading nations on earth, the birth-rate, in 1927, 28, was 22 per thousand of population, or about two-thirds of the birth rate among Latter-day Saints. Approximately the same ratio exists between the United States and the Latter-day Saints during the decade of 1915-24. The birth rate in the United States was 24 per thousand– among the Latter-day Saints 36 per thousand. During the following decade, 1925-34, the United States birth rate was 19 per thousand– among the Latter-day Saints, 30 per thousand. Since 1934 the tendency of the Church birth rate has been upward.

Maternity deaths in 1927, 1928, were only 10 per thousand births among the Latter-day Saints as against 45 in the six nations of earth with the highest health records. Infant mortality likewise was very low, about 40 per thousand of births. This can be attributed in part to the bodily vigor of father and mother.

The death rate among the Latter-day Saints is equally striking. It was less than 7 per thousand of population in 1927, 1928, as against 14 per thousand of population among twenty-five leading nations of earth. Today the Latter-day Saint death rate is about 7 per thousand. In the United States where most of the Latter-day Saints live, the death rate since 1901 has been consistently 4 to 6 per thousand lower than the nation’s death rate. (See diagram.) Long life is usually associated with good health. The parallelism between the death rates of the United States and of the Latter-day Saints shows that in addition to the results of the Word of Wisdom other health factors are operating, such as improved sanitation, better understanding of health laws, etc. Nevertheless, the impressive fact remains that the L. D. S. rate is below that of the United States. The factor there involved is no doubt the Word of Wisdom.

The net difference between birth rate and death rate, in 1927-28, was 23 per thousand of Latter-day Saints, as against 8 per thousand, or about one-third, in the twenty-five nations. Approximately the same difference exists between the Latter-day Saints and the population of the United States.

Insanity is low among the Latter-day Saints– about one-half of the average of the people among whom they live.

The promise of bodily vigor from keeping the Word of Wisdom has been fulfilled.

Protection Against Disease. Detailed health statistics indicate that the death rates from specific diseases, among the Latter-day Saints, are low compared with those of other large groups of people. The subjoined table shows that compared with the death rates of the United States, those of the Latter-day Saints are almost uniformly lower; in the case of the more dreaded diseases often less than half. As the table shows, this has been true from 1914 when the Church began the annual gathering of detailed vital statistics of its people. It is a remarkable difference, which in large part must be due to the effects of the keeping of the Word of Wisdom.

COMPARATIVE DEATH RATES, 1914-1935
Deaths per 100,000 of Population

1914-1926 1927-1934 1935
U.S.A L.D.S. U.S.A L.D.S. U.S.A L.D.S.
Typhoid 6.7 8.8 2.0 2.9 2.7 1.8
Influenza 51.2 50.1 23.8 10.4 22.1 3.7
Lobar Pneumonia 75.7 44.9 47.2 48.1 45.2 59.7
Tuberculosis 96.7 11.3 59.3 7.7 49.8 4.9
Cancer 94.7 11.3 113.6 47.6 107.9 48.1
Diabetes Mellitus 19.0 10.2 23.0 9.1 22.2 9.1
Disease of the Heart 187.6 77.2 232.7 108.1 198.2 112.2
Appendicitis 13.3 19.2 14.7 17.3 12.7 16.5
Cirrhosis of the Liver 9.6 2.3 8.3 1.0 7.9 1.3
Suicide 14.1 3.8 17.0 2.0 14.3 4.1

Similar results were obtained from corresponding facts from six great nations– Germany, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Great Britain, and the United States of America. (See Chapter 2). The Word of Wisdom has produced a people of apparently increased immunity from the diseases that scourge the earth.

It should be noted, however, as a warning that, since 1914, there have been increases, though small, from cancer and heart diseases. The Word of Wisdom needs to be observed more rigidly, to secure complete health.

The following table may be of supplementary interest, as it shows the death rate from more selected diseases and groups of diseases than in the preceding table, and for the recent years 1930, 1934, and 1935, fn among the Latter-day Saints and in the United States as a whole:

COMPARATIVE DEATH RATES, 1930, 1934, 1935 [fn] Deaths per 100,000 of population

1930 1934 1935
U.S.A. L.D.S. U.S.A. L.D.S. U.S.A. L.D.S.
Typhoid Fever 4.7 3.2 3.3 2.6  2.7 1.8
Influenza 19.5 7.4 17.3 3.7 22.1 3.7
Tuberculosis 71.5 8.2 56.6 6.2 55.0 7.3
Diabetes 19.0 8.6 22.1 8.1 22.2 9.1
Cancer 97.3 48.4 106.2 48.8 107.9 48.1
Alcoholism 3.5 0.3 2.9 0.1 2.6 0.5
Syphilis   8.9 0.1 9.3 0.1 9.1 0.1
Ulcers of the Stomach 4.3 4.0 4.2 5.3 4.6 5.3
Appendicitis 15.3 14.0 14.3 18.9 12.3  16.5
Diseases of the Nervous System and organs of special sense 112.1 55.0 106.1 46.8 105.9 51.1
Diseases of the Circulatory System 237.4 125.2 263.2 129.8 267.2 148.2
Diseases of the Respiratory System 95.6 117.7 90.7 123.5 93.0 111.0
Diseases of the Digestive System 85.9 54.9 75.8 61.5 70.3 50.9
Diseases of the Genito-Urinary System 104.4 37.4 98.9 30.2 96.2 28.0

With three exceptions these data are all very favorable to the Latter-day Saints. Deaths from typhoid, influenza, tuberculosis, cancer and diabetes are very low compared with the average for the country; from syphilis and alcoholism practically non-existent. Deaths from ulcers of the stomach and from appendicitis are above the average of the country at large– which should serve as danger signals, and direct our general health and eating habits. Deaths from diseases of the nervous, circulatory, digestion and genito-urinary systems are all much lower than the rate throughout the country, but from diseases of the respiratory system, higher. This latter observation may be due to the fact that the many who live in good health to an old age die from some disease of the respiratory system. Altogether the data in this table and many others that might be presented are excellent evidences of the rewards that come to observers of the Word of Wisdom.

A comparative study of health conditions among the Latter-day Saints of different ages has been made recently (1937) by Dr. Francis W. Kirkham. [fn6] He has shown that during the period 1922 to 1935 the death-rate in the stakes of the church has decreased steadily at all ages up to 45 years. Between 46 and 65 years it has stood still; and above 65 years it has, as would be expected, increased slightly. However, all the rates, at all ages, have tended to be lower than the United States average, and markedly so from 25 to 65 years of age. However, the fact that there has been no appreciable decrease between these years in the death rate among the Latter-day Saints, during the age period of 45 to 65 years, is a warning to the Church. As middle life is reached, the accumulated effects of the mistakes of early life begin to be more severely felt. There is need then in middle life for a more careful adherence than ever to the health code known as the Word of Wisdom. If the Word of Wisdom is carefully obeyed during childhood and youth, the strains of middle life will be more successfully met.

Knowledge and Wisdom. Physical health permits full mental activity. This is borne out by the history of mental proficiency among the Latter-day Saints.

Literacy among the Word of Wisdom group of people is about 99.7%; about 60 Latter-day Saints in every thousand attended high school in 1922– more than three times the average for the United States; about 9 Latter-day Saints in a thousand attended universities– nearly twice the United States average. The rates for literacy and attendance at high schools and universities are probably the highest in the world for a group of like size. This high mental development is reflected in the large proportion of men and women of recognized leadership in the world.

Wisdom, however, is more than knowledge. It implies the proper use of knowledge. This condition, also difficult to measure, seems to be met among the Latter-day Saints.

A wise person will conserve his economic resources. Adherence to the Word of Wisdom reduces the cost of living– the main economic problem of our day– by the larger use of the less expensive foods, such as grains, vegetables and fruits, and by saving the huge sums expended elsewhere for harmful alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea and coffee.

There are very few wealthy people among the Latter-day Saints. There is also little dire poverty among them. Their average prosperity is high. Threefifths of the Latter-day Saints own the homes in which they live. Such a prosperous economic condition has resulted from industry and thrift (77% of the people are engaged in productive occupations), coupled with the power and savings incident to obeying the Word of Wisdom. President Heber J. Grant has repeatedly stated that the economic problems of America and perhaps other nations would be solved by a faithful practice of the Word of Wisdom. [fn7]

Morality. Morality is also a product of wisdom. A man full of knowledge may be immoral; but a wise man treads the path of virtue. The moral effects of the Word of Wisdom are therefore both interesting and important. A high morality would be expected from people with healthy bodies and developed minds.

The marriage rate among the Latter-day Saints is 14.5 per thousand, compared with 8 per thousand for twenty nations listed by the League of Nations in its latest Health Yearbook. Divorces number 14 per hundred thousand as compared with 46 per hundred thousand for fifteen nations. The rate of illegitimacy among the Latter-day Saints is correspondingly low, 8.7 of every thousand births (in the State of Utah, which is about 60% Mormon) as compared with 74 in every thousand births for an average of twenty-two civilized nations listed by the League of Nations. The criminal record of the Latter-day Saints points similarly to a high degree of morality. For example, in the State of Utah, the Latter-day Saints forming 60% of the population, furnish but 21% of the convicts in the State penitentiary. [fn8] While many factors contribute to high morality, unquestionably the abstinence from intoxicating drinks and other nerve-whipping substances and the general self-control required by the Word of Wisdom favor high moral development. Crime seldom accompanies full mental and physical health.

Spiritual Gains. In the early days of the Church the Lord declared to the Prophet Joseph Smith “that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal. . . . for my commandments are spiritual.” [fn9]

In harmony with this basic statement, the final and most important effect of the Word of Wisdom must be of a spiritual nature. Whoever obeys this law will be blessed in body, purse and mind, and also in spiritual development.

This is really self-evident. Obedience to the Word of Wisdom means eagerness and willingness to conform to the “word and will” of God, the beginning of all wisdom. It also implies conquest of the appetites of the body, the first step towards spiritual development.

Love of the Lord and obedience to divine law qualify a person for spiritual communion. Guidance from the unseen world is most easily received by those who are so prepared.

Those who, because of their acceptance and use of the Word of Wisdom, possess a clean body, a clear mind and a spirit in tune with the infinite, are best able to assist in establishing the Kingdom of God on earth, and thereby to render greatest service to their fellow men.

They also find the greatest happiness in life, for their capacity for joy is unhindered by a weak body, a dull mind, and dim spiritual vision. They find a new wealth of joy in every commonplace of life. They have eyes and they see; ears and they hear. Their understanding is reinforced with the spiritual light of truth.

There are many laws of the Gospel that lead towards spirituality. Among them the Word of Wisdom stands unchallenged.

The Rewards Fail Not. The experience with the Word of Wisdom, covering more than a century, is convincing evidence of the temporal and spiritual value of this guide to health. The facts and figures above cited bear an undoubted relationship to the temperate and wise habits enjoined upon the Latter-day Saints in the Word of Wisdom. In every particular have the promises made by the Lord to those who observe the Word of Wisdom been fulfilled.

Probably no other group of 750,000 people can be found on earth with as high records for physical health, mental proficiency, economic welfare and moral cleanliness. The effects of the Word of Wisdom are in full evidence.

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

Dublin, and Lotka, Length of Life, 1936.

Harris, F. S., and Butt, Fruits of Mormonism, 1925.

L. D. S. Presiding Bishopric Statistics– partial reports in General Conference Reports.

Smith, J. F., Gospel Doctrine.

U. S. Public Health Service– Public Health Reports (note April 30, 1937).

Widtsoe, J. A., Discourses of Brigham Young, 1925.

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, Footnotes

Footnotes

1. Doctrine and Covenants 89:2.

2. Ibid., 89:18-21.

3. The measure of the rewards promised by the Word of Wisdom is made possible by the use of statistics gathered by the Church over a long number of years. At the beginning of each year the bishops of the wards of the Church, more than one thousand in number, assemble the vital data pertaining to the groups of people placed in their care, and forward these to the Presiding Bishop’s Office for recording and collating. In the majority of the wards the population is under one thousand. The bishop and his two counselors, with the ward clerk are usually personally familiar with every family. There is no great likelihood of error; especially as the bishop checks his findings with the physicians’ certificates sent in to the state. Moreover, the consistency of the reports from year to year indicates their reliability. They are probably fully as reliable as those gathered by the State. It should be said, however, that Church statistics deal only with the stakes of the Church; such reports have not yet been secured from the missions. Educational statistics are also gathered at various intervals, as also other statistics of interest to the Church.

4. Only the data of U. S. A. from the year 1930, ’34 and ’35 were available in the report used in this study.

5. Church data from Office of the Presiding Bishop. U. S. A. data from Public Health Reports, April 30, 1937, U. S. Public Health Service.

6. Deseret News, Church Section, Jan. 16, 1937.

7. General Conference Report, October, 1937.

8. Harris, F. S., and Butt, N. I., The Fruits of Mormonism, 1925, p. 136.

9. Doctrine and Covenants 29:34, 35.


 

The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation, p. 246

Chapter 19

CONCLUSION

The Word of Wisdom Summarized. The code of health, known as the Word of Wisdom, and in which resides the power to correct many evils of the day, may be summarized in eight rules:

1. Do not believe everything advertised about food and drink. Fraud and deceit are anxious for your money. Be informed and prudent.

2. Alcoholic beverages, beer, wines or distilled products should never be drunk by man.

3. Tobacco should not be used for smoking or chewing, in any form at any time in life.

4. Drinks containing unnatural stimulating substances, such as coffee and tea, and other drug-laden concoctions, whether hot or cold in temperature, should be eliminated from the human dietary.

5. The flesh of animals should be used sparingly, chiefly in cold weather, or in times of famine.

6. Fruits of all kinds, especially fresh fruits, should be eaten daily.

7. All edible vegetables, leafy, root and tuber, should be eaten daily.

8. The daily dietary of man should include as its basis, properly prepared grains, supplemented by other edible seeds and nuts.

Supplementary Rules. The Word of Wisdom dealing with food is the most important factor of health, but not the only one. Others must be observed also for full health. For example:

Pure, fresh water should be drunk freely, at arising and between meals, during the day. Fruit juices and grain extracts, notably of bran and barley, may well supplement the intake of water.

Milk, a food rather than a drink, should be used in the complete dietary.

Health requires regular and steady physical labor and intellectual effort. Whether taken in one’s regular business or as recreation, such exercise of body and mind is necessary to make obedience to the Word of Wisdom most effective. Physical exercise in the open air is always desirable. Daily reading of good literature and all forms of proper recreation help promote good health.

Equally important is sufficient, regular, preferably early sleep, ending in the early morning. When this health requirement is violated in our fast-moving, unnatural age, many of the benefits of the Word of Wisdom are defeated.

Frequent bathing should be made habitual.

There should be daily elimination of the waste products within the body.

The full benefit of the Word of Wisdom can be obtained only when the mind is at peace. A correct mental attitude, one of faith, hope and love, is indispensable for full health. That really means that a pre-requisite for perfect health is a sound religious philosophy. The Gospel relieves the anxieties of the spirit by answering the deep questions of life, and thereby becomes a factor for good health. Activity in the Church, always unselfish if properly done, likewise helps greatly in the maintenance or restoration of health. The spirit is an ally with the body of man to make life joyous.

Need of the Word of Wisdom. Humanity has need for the warning and help offered by the Word of Wisdom. There are few really healthy people in the world. Too many live with only half their possible energies at their command. There is too much disease, too many colds and hay fevers. There are too many widows. There is too much deception by fraud and lying drugs. There is too much poverty, because money is spent for things injurious to the body, too much suffering in drunkards’ homes, too much crime by people sick in mind and body. There are too many broken homes, too many divorces traceable to violation of the law of health. There are too many flabby wills; too little self-conquest. There is not enough faith; not enough prayer. These conditions need not exist; the Lord does not desire them to continue; by obedience to the Word of Wisdom they may be corrected.

Effect on Coming Generations. The test of any regime of life is that the posterity of an individual, as well as the individual himself, shall be sound and healthy. Many persons blessed with a strong inheritance survive their mistakes and live to a high age, but, too often, their children and children’s children die in youth or live with poor health. Parents are the keepers of the welfare of the coming generations. The descendants of those who keep the Word of Wisdom in its fullness will be blessed.

Benefits of the Word of Wisdom. Conformity to the Word of Wisdom will help solve many of the most perplexing problems of our age. Disease will largely be overcome. Life will be lengthened and health will rule while life endures. Economic prosperity will follow the direction into useful channels of the vast sums of money now spent for things injurious to health. Cultivation of home gardens on the thousands of vacant neglected spots in every city, would profitably replace night brawls in dress suits or rags. Social happiness will come with the elimination of the poverty, crime and squalor due to drink and drugs. A new mental health will reveal “hidden treasures” of knowledge. There will be means available for the education of all. Appetites are conquered and character developed as men and women use their wills to accept the provisions of the Word of Wisdom as against the temptations of pleasures that end in disaster. Such conquest of self will lead to a surrender to the will of God, which is the ultimate victory, and will enable humanity to attain the higher spiritual reaches of life. Obedience to the Word of Wisdom brings spiritual communion and strength.

Self-Correction. Special strength is not needed to conform to the Lord’s law of health, for obedience to it provides the means by which bad habits and unwise appetites may be avoided or corrected. Obedience to the positive factors helps destroy the appetite for the negative factors.

Evidence of Inspiration. Throughout these pages fact has crowded upon fact in support of the declaration of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, that the Word of Wisdom was revealed to him from heavenly sources. He would have stood helpless before the problem of human health had he relied on current knowledge or upon his own shrewd guesses. There are statements in the revelation that, in the light of modern knowledge, cannot be explained by any other means than that of inspiration.

Indeed, today, after 104 years, the Word of Wisdom stands as one of the most convincing evidences of the divine inspiration of Joseph Smith, the “Mormon” Prophet.

Finale. The followers of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ are grateful for the gift of this Law of Health, and offer it to all the world as one means by which full health may be won by all men. The rewards of obedience to this divine law are appealing. Health of body, mental strength, endurance, protection against the devastating scourges of earth, economic security, social welfare, treasures of knowledge, spiritual development and an understanding peace of mind.

Were this law fully kept a new compelling power for good would arise in earth.

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Comments

  1. I feel this is a truly inspired and timeless writing, with scientific evidence that is still true today.

    I am curious though about the mention of milk, cheese and eggs. I have not read the China study yet, but curious about an explanation of how they are included in this book as a necessary part of a good diet.

    • Great question, Michelle!

      I address this in my book and in the articles I’ve written on the Widtsoes (see: “Discovering the Word of Wisdom Pioneers: The Widtsoes on Meat” I’ll quote one part here:

      Like most Americans (then and now), the Widtsoes were enamored with protein, but because of their understanding and faith in the Word of Wisdom, they were able to overcome their prejudice that meat is the only or best source of protein. What the science of their time did not help them understand was that protein is basically a non-issue in terms of the human diet.[6] Protein is so plentiful in the human diet, that it is nearly impossible to not get enough protein. Practically the only time anyone is at risk of not getting enough protein is when they are not getting enough calories for daily needs.

      What the Widtsoes did not know at the time, because science had not yet confirmed it, was that humans can easily get more than enough protein from an all plant diet, without any special need to search for specific foods or combine them in certain ways. Without this knowledge, the Widtsoes assumed that if we do not eat meat, we need milk and eggs to get adequate protein. Science has since demonstrated that not only can we get more than enough protein from plant sources, but that dairy and eggs have the same nutritional risks as meat.[7]

      Science can also help us understand other prejudices that the Widtsoes were unaware of. The Widtsoes assumed that because God cautioned us against using meat during times of cold and winter that our bodies somehow need more protein during seasons of cold. This notion was supported by some of the contemporary science of their time. Later science, however, has thoroughly discredited this outdated theory. We now know that the temperature has very little to do with the amount of protein one needs to consume. Exhaustive studies done by the U.S. military suggest that if anything, less protein is needed in the cold! [8]

      If we interpret “times of winter, or of cold, or famine” to refer to times of need, this better harmonizes with related scriptures (D&C 89:15; D&C 49:21; JST Genesis 9:11).

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