Latter-day Saints are recognized throughout the world by their peculiar dietary code known as the Word of Wisdom. It is accepted by the Church as revelation and contains both proscriptions and prescriptions. Different levels of interpretation, understanding and observance of the principles in the Word of Wisdom make it a unique Latter-day Saint religious health code. The study population consists of college-aged male and female members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Brigham Young University and a Latter-day Saint student stake affiliated with Utah Valley University. A questionnaire was conceptualized, designed and validated over a one year rigorous process. The responses of 720 participants were evaluated using frequency distributions and measures of central tendency. The t statistic was used for testing the null hypothesis of equality of means between independent groups and computed using approximate degrees of freedom from Satterhwaite's approximation when the variances between the two groups are unequal. Logistic regression was used with the stepwise option to identify demographic variables associated with selected interpretation variables. Two-sided tests of significance were based on the 0.05 level against a null hypothesis of no association. Participants generally interpret and comply with the proscriptions in the Word of Wisdom. Participants can identify the prescriptions, but actual behaviors are far below scientific and government recommended minimums. The interpretations and behaviors of this sample provide valuable insights for those interested in the Word of Wisdom and its connection to the standards of the Church.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Exercise Sciences



Date Submitted


Document Type





Word of Wisdom, Prescription, Proscription, Latter-day Saint Health Code, Health Code, Latter-day Saint