Mormon, Word of Wisdom, Doctrine and Covenants 89, meat, health, environment, animals


Doctrine & Covenants Section 89 is known as the "health code" for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In verse 13 of this scripture, the Lord states, “it is pleasing unto me that they [flesh of beasts and fowls of the air] should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine” (D&C 89:13). Judging from the variety of interpretations this single verse has inspired, it would appear to be deeply enigmatic. Interestingly, most interpretations have been put forward with little supporting evidence. This article is the first comprehensive analysis of the diverse explanations for D&C 89:13 that have been suggested since 1833. In this article, I attempt to analyze these various interpretations in light of the available evidence.

Original Publication Citation

A. Jane Birch, “Getting into the Meat of the Word of Wisdom,” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 11 (2014): 1-36. Original Source:

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


The Interpreter Foundation