Why were Brigham Young's efforts to bring back the use of wine in the sacrament discontinued after 1897?
Brigham Young stated on January 5, 1860, "I wish to see this people manufacture
their own clothing, and make as good cloth as is in the coat I now have on, and as good silk as is in the handkerchief
around my neck, and as good linen as is in the bosom and wristbands of my shirt. When we administer the
sacrament of the Lord's Supper, I wish as good wine as can be made in any country, and that too made by ourselves
from grapes grown in our own mountain valleys." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 9, p. 109)
Four years later Brigham Young stated on June 4, 1864, "I anticipate the day when we can have the
privilege of using, at our sacraments pure wine, produced within our borders." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 10, p. 300)
According to Leonard J. Arrington, historian for the LDS church, Mormons in the late 19th century apparently drank too much of the wine they were supposed to be growing for sacramental use and for cash sales to "gentiles": The attempts of the latter-day Saints in southern Utah and elsewhere to make wine are also illustrative of the
dominating philosophy of economic self-sufficiency. One function of these enterprises, of course, was to provide
wine for the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Brigham Young stated in 1864: "I anticipate the day when we can
have the privilege of using, at our sacraments pure wine, produced within our borders. I do not know that it would
injure us to drink wine of our own make, although we would be better without it than to drink it to excess."
Wine was used in the sacrament of the church as late as 1897. A more important function of wine-making, however,
was to provide much-needed income for the poverty-stricken pioneers in Utah's Dixie. The intention was to sell most
of the wine in mining communities in southern Utah and Nevada. Brigham Young instructed as follows: "First,
by lightly pressing, make a white wine. Then give a heavier pressing and make a colored wine. Then barrel up this
wine, and if my counsel is taken, this wine will not be drunk here, but will be exported, and thus increase the
fund." More of the Dixie wine was consumed in the Mormon settlements than church officials had hoped,
however, and the enterprise was discontinued before 1900. (BYU Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 46)
That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the
sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.
And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.
Why not use wine today? Wine will always be much more symbolic of blood and sacrifice than water will ever be.