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Table of Contents
Historical Summary
The Life and Ministry of David O. McKay
1 Jesus Christ: “The Way, the Truth, and the Life”
2 The Dual Nature of Man
3 The Purpose of the Church
4 Elements of Worship
5 The Blessings of Unity
6 “Every Member a Missionary”
7 The Significance of the Resurrection
8 The Power of Prayer
9 Overcoming Temptation
10 The Divine Calling of the Prophet Joseph Smith
11 Living the Word of Wisdom
12 Priesthood, the Responsibility to Represent God
13 The Sacred Importance of Temples
14 Preparing for an Eternal Marriage and Family
15 Experiencing Happiness in Marriage
16 The Noble Calling of Parents
17 A Testimony of the Truth
18 Courage to Live Righteously
19 The Divine Nature of Service
20 Teaching, a Noble Work
21 The First Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel
22 Agency and Responsibility
23 Developing a Christlike Character
24 “Let Your Light So Shine”
List of Paintings
Document Text Contents
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Published by

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Salt Lake City, Utah

Page 136

C H A P T E R 1 1


I am glad when I study this passage, to find that the Lord did

not say, “Strong drink to excess is not good;” nor “Drunkenness

is not good.” Suppose He had weakened that expression by

modifying it and saying, “Strong drink in excess, or when taken

in large quantities, is not good,” how soon we should have jus-

tified ourselves that a little drink is good. But like other eternal

truths it stands unqualified; strong drink is not good.3

I think tobacco is a vice which should be shunned as the bite

of a rattlesnake. . . . The Lord has said that tobacco is not good

for man. That should be sufficient for Latter-day Saints.4

Members of the Church who have formed either the tobacco

habit or the tea and coffee habit, or both, are prone to seek jus-

tification for their indulgences in things which the Lord has said

plainly are not good for man. Whenever they try to do so, they

only parade the weakness of their faith in the Lord’s words,

which were given as admonition and “wisdom,” and obedience

to which will bring blessing as certain and sure as if he had said,

“Thou shalt not.” 5

Disobeying the Word of Wisdom brings harmful
physical and spiritual consequences.

There is a substance in tea and coffee which when taken into

the human system, tends to increase the beating of the heart;

which in turn increases the rapidity of the circulation of the blood

and of breathing. This causes the body to become warmer and

more exhilarated. After a time, however, this temporary enliven-

ment passes off, and the body is really in a greater need of rest

and recuperation than it was before the beverage was taken.

Stimulants are to the body what the lash is to the lagging horse—

it causes a spurt forward but gives no permanent strength or nat-

ural nourishment. Frequently repetitions of the lash only make

the horse more lazy; and the habitual use of strong drink,

tobacco, tea, and coffee, only tends to make the body weaker and

more dependent upon the stimulants to which it is addicted.

The Lord has said in unmistakable words that these things are

not good for man. Science declares the same. God’s word alone

should be sufficient for every true Latter-day Saint.6

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C H A P T E R 1 1


A person’s reaction to his appetites and impulses when they

are aroused gives the measure of that person’s character. In such

reactions are revealed the man’s power to govern, or his forced

servility to yield. That phase of the Word of Wisdom, therefore,

which refers to intoxicants, drugs, and stimulants, goes deeper

than the ill effects upon the body, and strikes at the very root of

character building itself. . . .

During the last one hundred years, the marvelous advance of

science has made it possible for man to determine by experi-

ments the ill effect of intoxicants and drugs upon the nerves and

tissues of the human body. Observation and experiment have

demonstrated their effects upon character. All such experiments

and observations have proved the truth of the . . . statement:

“Strong drinks and tobacco are not good for man.” 7

As I recall the influences upon my young life, I believe the

greatest was the memorizing of that important saying: “My spirit

will not dwell in an unclean tabernacle.”

Then there were . . . others, and they were all in the form of

warnings. The first came to me as a boy as I sat on a spring seat

by the side of my father as we drove into Ogden. Just before we

crossed the bridge across the Ogden River, a man came out from

a saloon, which was just on the northern bank of the river. I rec-

ognized him. I liked him because I had seen him on the local

stage. But on that occasion he was under the influence of liquor,

and had been for, I suppose, several days.

I did not know . . . he drank, but as he broke down and cried

and asked father for fifty cents to go back into the saloon, I saw

him stagger away. As we drove across the bridge my father said:

“David, he and I used to go [home] teaching together.”

That was all he said, but it was a warning to me that I have never

forgotten, about the effect of dissipation [or excessive drinking].

A little later, a teacher [assigned] us to read a story about a

group of young people sailing down the St. Lawrence River. . . .

I cannot give you the author, I cannot give you the title, but I can

give you the memory that has stayed with me, about those young

folks who were drinking and carousing and having a good time

in the boat sailing down that noted river. But a man on the

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responsibility of Church mem-

bers, 131–32

worthiness and faithfulness

required, 130–31


resisting, through obedience

and self-control, 86–88

Savior’s example in resisting,


three forms of, 82–85


anchors the soul, 168

David O. McKay’s efforts to

obtain, 163–64

most precious possession in the

world, 164–65

received through the Spirit as

we are obedient, 165–68


actions influenced by, 87

character influenced by, 217–18

Tithing, example of, set by David

O. McKay’s father, xv



exemplified by President McKay

and his counselors, 39–41

harmed by certain attitudes and

actions, 42–43

in the Church, 44–47

in the home, 43–44

required by the Lord, 41–42


Welfare program, beginnings of,


Word of Wisdom

assailed by “evil and conspiring

men,” 107–8

blessings of obeying, 108–10

clear commandment from the

Lord, 104–5

disobedience to, brings harmful

consequences, 105–7

duty of Church members to

obey, 108

Worship, elements of, 29–37

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