As we begin this series it is important for me to say that the posts on my blog are my own opinions and I do not represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or any other group in any capacity.
This week's question is really the one that started this series.
Photo courtesy of David Robert Wright, Some Rights Reserved
"Why do Mormons not drink coffee?"
and closely related to that question are the questions
"Why do Mormons not drink alcohol?"
"Are Mormons allowed to drink soda?"
These are questions I am asked literally all. the. time.
So here's the answer:
We do not drink coffee, tea, or use tobacco because God said so. The End.
I say that somewhat tongue in cheek, but really, to us Mormons, it's that simple. It's not because of caffeine, or tannic acid, or any other reason. When you ask a Mormon why he or she doesn't drink those things, or doesn't chew tobacco or smoke cigarettes, you are really asking about a revelation that we call the Word of Wisdom. I would invite you to read the entire word of wisdom by clicking here.
But basically, the Word of Wisdom is a revelation that Joseph Smith, the first prophet and president of the LDS Church received from Heavenly Father.
This revelation outlined several things that we are counseled not to partake of:
- illicit drugs (conforms with spirit of the law, but enumerated later)
- hot drinks (later prophets define this to mean tea and coffee)
No where is it stated, nor has any church leader since said, why coffee and tea are not to be drank. I CAN tell you that it is NOT because of caffeine. While there are members who choose not to drink caffeine, it is not a doctrine of the Church.
So when you see your LDS friend grabbing a Mt. Dew at the corner store, no, he is not going against the teachings of his church.
I've always looked at it as substances that are addicting take away our ability to make choices and thus our ability to fully serve God. An addiction places that substance before all else in your life, including God. So following this principle, if I become addicted to Mt. Dew, it would probably be best if I abstain from drinking it.
Does that make sense?
Substances that are addicting and mind-altering also hinder our ability to hear and listen to the Spirit speaking to us. If I was to guess, I'd say this is probably a significant reason why we are asked to abstain from these substances as well.
But when it comes right down to it, the answer is really because we believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that he received divine revelations from God and that one of those revelations counsels us to not partake of certain things. Just like with our kids, sometimes "Because I said so" is reason enough to do, or not do, something!
The Word of Wisdom also counsels is to eat healthy foods In moderation and outlines specific blessings for following this counsel.
Now you know why I respectfully declined the delicious (so I'm told) Dillanos that Mr. Chris LoCurto offered me!
I hope this has answered some questions for you and look forward to answering more questions from you, the readers!
If you have a question about Mormon doctrines, practices, or culture, visit the Ask a Mormon page of this blog and post it in the comments and I'll do my best I answer it!
Thanks for reading and please share this with all your friends and family!