In addition, it is the anniversary of my term paper for my L.D.S. history since 1901 (Religion 343) class at Brigham Young University taught by Dr. Richard O. Cowan. I submitted my paper entitled, "Conference Teachings on Prohibition and The Word of Wisdom" August 7, 1984. It focused entirely on Heber J. Grant's addresses before and after he became President of the Church.
Prohibition of alcohol existed in the United States from 1920 to 1933 as a Constitutional Amendment. It was repealed by popular vote. Utah was the crucial state that completed its repeal. Below are some observations and quotes from my paper.
Grant believed drinking alcohol would cause mothers to have a higher incidence of unsound babies. He didn't elaborate on what he meant by unsound but it seems clear from the context that he meant birth defects. Conference Report, Spring 1926, p. 162.
Kansas was a dry state. It's vital statistics and lack of disease so shocked U. S. officials that they sent a squad out to investigate and found the statistics substantiated. Grant believed their partial adherence to the World of Wisdom explained the statistics. He believed Kansans were blessed for it. Conference Report, Spring 1916, p. 93, 97.
Grant pointed out that before Prohibition passed, 3 million dollars was spent annually on drink. Conference Report, Fall 1922, p. 191. He said nobody benefited from this. If Utah spent nothing on liquor, tea, coffee, or tobacco we would not need help from the federal government to care for the poor. Conference Report, Fall 1935, p. 9.
I have heard Latter-day Saints say that we need the saloon to help pay our taxes. God pity the men whose consciences have become so elastic. Conference Report, Spring 1914, p. 27.
But how under the heavens any man with ordinary intelligence with which God has endowed him believes and can believe that empty barrels and empty bottles will bring wealth to this community, when the contents have first destroyed the manhood and the intellectuality and the efficiency of the people who have emptied the bottles and barrels, is one of the untold mysteries to me. Conference Report, Spring 1916, p. 38.
The money that is expended for tea, coffee, tobacco and liquor would take care of all the poor people in the world, it would save the world financially. Conference Report, Spring 1937, p. 14.
I do not suppose that when we get whiskey, wine, beer, etc., much of it will be used for the washing of people's bodies. Conference Report, Spring 1933, p. 8.
I think one of th weakest excuses I ever heard of in my life is that one -- "not by commandment or constraint" -- when before the verse ends it tells you that it is the will of God. Conference Report, Fall 1934, p. 130.
With the help of the Lord to the very best of my ability, I warned this people not to vote for the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment. I warned them against lies that were being circulated to the effect that there was more drunkenness and more use of liquor than there had been when we did not have Prohibition. Millions of dollars of money, I am sure, was expended to have the Eighteenth Amendment repealed. Conference Report, Spring 1937, p. 13.
I have never felt so humiliated in my life over anything as that the state of Utah voted for the repeal of Prohibition. Conference Report, Fall 1934, p. 139.These same arguments, that Grant condemned, are commonly put forth today in order to justify legalizing drugs, especially marijuana.
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