It really started with a single question, then grew because he was willing to act.
Along the way it was, "What do we do about this stinky, awful tobacco juice spit staining the floor and irritating Emma at church leadership meetings?" Or something like that.
Thank heaven for Emma. Without her we may not have had what came next, a concise statement we Mormons refer to as God's Law of Health.
[Perhaps we'd still have meetings of the Church's First Presidency and twelve apostles enveloped in clouds of tobacco smoke and producing dark green spit in abundance. LOL. Really? No, I don't really think so. But I think Emma's frustration was heaven-inspired, and the answer heaven-sent.]
I'm quoting from a talk along these lines I heard on The Mormon Channel - Legacy series. It features church historians Chad Horton and William Slaughter as interviewed by Nathan Wright, as they discuss their book Joseph Smith's America: His Life and Times:
. . . . One of the important things to learn from the life of Joseph Smith, is to question, to ask. Not question in a negative sense, but to say, "Heavenly Father, what is right, what is the answer?"
. . . There were health movements at the time [of Joseph Smith], that's another exciting thing [about the time he lived in]. The question came to him, "Joseph, what about this?"and [he] went to Heavenly Father saying "I have just the person to ask."
Almost every section of the D&C comes as an answer to a question. At this time there were a lot of different ideas as to what would prompt good health, what were some of things you needed to do. And there were a lot of ideas out there, that other people had received [as] revelation as well as Joseph. There's very little in Section 89 that somebody at the time did not believe.
What is amazing about [Section 89] is there were a lot of ideas out there that were really kind of screwy. The fact that Joseph in this revelation was able to pull out the things that science now can prove and find true, we see literal fulfillment of the revelation, as opposed to the many prevalent fads that were not included in his revelation.
What I love about the Word of Wisdom is that it's tempered , gentle advice, in a world of many fads, shrill voices and quirky ideas. Heavenly Father comes back with an answer that is calm, reassuring and not strident.I love nutritarian eating for the same reasons. I find it tempered, gentle and effective, in a world of fads, shrillness and quirkiness in eating and health.