Sick Cattle, Strong drinks for washing your bodies

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Sick Cattle, Strong drinks for washing your bodies

Post by gospeltangents » 29 Jan 2018, 13:12

I had a really cool interview with apostle Lachlan MacKay of the Community of Christ, and wanted to share a few of the amazing things he said concerning the Word of Wisdom.

D&C 89:7 reads, “And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.” Who washes their bodies? What's this all about? It turns out to be related to ritual washing in the Kirtland Temple, and they used WHISKEY!
Lachlan: Yeah, so I think that cinnamon whiskey would cleanse, it would sterilize. It would make them smell better, so it was purification physically, spiritually, in every way in preparation to go to the temple.

GT: Somebody had asked a question about the Word of Wisdom being a sort of temple text. I understand with the Kirtland Temple, going back to Kirtland, they did do some sort of a washing ordinance. Was that with this whiskey? Do you know? Was that in the temple or was that just in the Newell K. Whitney store?

Lachlan: So the washing ordinance with whiskey was in the schoolhouse behind the temple or in Joseph’s home just prior to going into the temple. I also wonder, though, it the temple text reference wasn’t to some of the other language that maybe makes it into temple ritual later.
D&C 89:8 reads, “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.”
GT: Ok. There’s another reference that I wanted to mention. In fact I was going to ask this in the class today but I didn’t: the reference to tobacco. It says for “for all sick cattle.” Tom Kimball was nice enough to send me a copy of Mormonism Unvailed, the first anti-Mormon book ever that Dan Vogel just recently put some awesome footnotes in there. I do remember E.D. Howe, who was definitely an anti-Mormon, a little bit over the top. It was kind of interesting to read that book. One of the things that he made fun of was the Word of Wisdom. He said, “Well if you’re supposed to use this for sick cattle, what are you doing?” {everyone chuckles} [Joseph] didn’t prescribe that very well. Do you have any idea what that reference was?

Lachlan: I was just having a discussion with somebody who saw that it was often used for poultices, maybe that’s the bruised part of the tobacco more than anything. The cattle part, this might be highly speculative, but it’s one of the things I want to track down. I was at the tow path on a canal in New Hope, Pennsylvania not long ago, reading an interpretive panel, and it talked about how the mules as they got tired would be given tobacco! {chuckles}

John Hamer: Wow!

GT: Oh, really!

Lachlan: To kind of…

GT: Like to chew.

Lachlan: Yeah, to eat, to kind of pep them up to kind of get them going again, give them the energy to keep going. I thought, “You know I think I need to start paying a little more attention to that.” That’s one of the things I hope to continue with the research is to make better sense of the tobacco for cattle, and how was it used with animals at the time? But I do think the bruising part was probably reference to poultices. I have met people who had tobacco poultices applied to them.

GT: Is that kind of like a bandage sort of a thing?

Lachlan: Yeah, just on a wound and it would draw out.

GT: Oh. That’s interesting.

Lachlan: I have a lot more work to do.
Have you ever heard of these before? It was AMAZING to hear about these verses that we often completely ignore in the LDS Church.
See my latest interviews on Mormon History, Science & Theology at

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Re: Sick Cattle, Strong drinks for washing your bodies

Post by nibbler » 29 Jan 2018, 14:00

My grandfather would put chewing tobacco on bee stings.
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Re: Sick Cattle, Strong drinks for washing your bodies

Post by SamBee » 29 Jan 2018, 14:45

Surgical alcohol is still used to clean and sterilize. If you have a greasy face, it is better than soap for removing the oil.
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Re: Sick Cattle, Strong drinks for washing your bodies

Post by Roy » 29 Jan 2018, 14:55

I had just assumed that tobacco had veterinary uses.

Fascinating. Thank you.
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Re: Sick Cattle, Strong drinks for washing your bodies

Post by NightSG » 29 Jan 2018, 15:19

Roy wrote:
29 Jan 2018, 14:55
I had just assumed that tobacco had veterinary uses.
It's mainly used as a dewormer for horses and cattle. Rolled up in some meat, it can be used on dogs too.

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