Turns out the LDS Church does not prohibit its members from drinking caffeine and says it never has…
And yet BYU doesn’t sell any caffeine anywhere in campus.
They say J. Smith only wrote against “hot drinks” (tea and coffee) but not caffeine in general. So is hot chocolate not ok? It reminds me of the novel 1984: “Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.”
Back when I was a Mormon, caffeine wasn’t “forbidden” per se, but very heavily discouraged. It was effectively banned, but they didn’t use the words “forbidden” or “banned”. It was “heavily discouraged”.
What gets me is the strange logic of “hot drink” prohibition but no prohibition of caffeine. Why is hot chocolate ok, and tea is not? The only difference to me is the caffeine. It seems like Smith just went with hot drinks since there were no caffeinated sodas invented yet. If he received the hot drink prohibition from an all knowing God, why didn’t he see what was coming down the pipe?
It leads me to believe Smith was more a man of his times than a man of God.
While leaders often give general instruction some members strictly interpret certain commandments. I would guess it is the same in most churches. In this case, some have strictly interpreted the Word of Wisdom and subsequent statements by leaders to mean that any form of caffeine is not allowed. However, I have never seen any formal statement saying this is the case.
I have always liked a story about David. O. McKay who was the 9th president of the LDS church.
During the intermission of a theatrical presentation, his host offered to get refreshments: “His hearing wasn’t very good, and I got right down in front of him and I said, ‘President McKay, what would you like to drink? All of our cups say Coca Cola on them because of our arrangement with Coca Cola Bottling, but we have root beer and we have orange and we have Seven-Up. What would you like to drink?’ And he said, ‘I don’t care what it says on the cup, as long as there is Coke in the cup.” McKay’s point was simple and refreshing: Don’t get hung up on the letter of the law to the point where you squeeze all of the spirit out of life. (David O. McKay and The Rise of Modern Mormonisim, p 23)
That is what I’ve heard. Also, I’ve heard that drinking caffeine can keep you from becoming a higher member in the church, which inevitably keeps you from becoming the “prophet”. And for the more orthodox LDS temples (a rumor I heard), you wouldn’t be allowed to attend services (effectively banning you from their specific temple). And don’t forget that because the church is run by a “prophet” and they believe that the “prophet” can change doctrine, this view towards caffeine can always change. Correct me if I’m wrong, this is all just from what I’ve heard (Never been mormon, and never plan to).
Most all food proscriptions of religions are arbitrary or based on some factor that was valid in the murky past. For example, the proscription of pork by Jews and Muslims probably originated (I have no reference for this) from the fact that pigs were often fed table scraps - garbage - that became infested with the Trichina worm. Eating pig infested with these worms led to trichinosis – a chronic incurable disease. Although modern inspection methods have largely eliminated infected pork, many people still insist on cooking it well-done (probably wise for any meat).
I suspect the ban on caffeine for LDS may have come from the Biblical proscription against “strong drink.” Of course Mormons also don’t drink alcoholic beverages which might be classified strong drink.
As an interesting side point, it was said that when fighting Muslims, Patton had his army dipped their bullets in pork fat because Muslims believed that if they were killed by such a bullet they would go straight to hell. It intimidated them, to say the least!
I mean, can you imagine someone rigidly adhering to these arbitrary food proscriptions? Like God really cares if you eat lobsters (another Jewish proscription) or pig or drink coffee? Although I think you can have a rabbi say some words to magically remove the curse, I don’t know if the LDS has any similar practice. Isn’t it amazing the stuff people believe?
“I know of no scriptural basis for denying the Priesthood to Negroes other than one verse in the Book of Abraham (1:26); however, I believe, as you suggest that the real reason dates back to our pre-existent life.”
The Word of Wisdom is a law of health. It was revealed to the prophet Joseph Smith in 1833. It encourages the use of vegetables and fruits. It tells us that grain is good for man but councils us to eat meat sparingly. It also councils against the use of strong drink (alcohol), tobacco, and hot drinks (defined as tea and coffee). It promises that those who keep this law, “shall receive, health in their naval and marrow to their bones.” Science has only recently begun to come into agreement with the Lord’s law of health.
There will always be some experience with one member or rumors floating around and I imagine there are many involving the Word of Wisdom. So let me see if I can clear up a couple of things.
Anyone may attend LDS Sunday services.
In order to enter the temple one must keep the Word of Wisdom.
I doubt anyone knows much about what it takes to become a prophet.
I’ve heard of some members who don’t drink any caffeine at all and others who are more relaxed about it and do drink some. The prohibition technically was on “hot drinks” so if you interpret it literally you could even drink iced coffee. But then the more strict LDS say that in Smith’s time, the only hot drinks were tea and coffee, which were caffeinated, so that means he was talking about caffeine.
That sounds mostly legit. I don’t know about certain temples banning people, I thought they were all the same. But I could be wrong. I’ve only ever been to two of them. And the temples are not the same as meetinghouses. A meetinghouse is where Sunday worship and other activities are held. It has a sanctuary, classrooms, library, and basket ball court (indoors). The temple is a secretive place you can only go if you’re worthy. I don’t know the requirements exactly, because I never attained an age old enough to go for endowments. I did go for baptisms of the dead, but they only allow you into certain areas of the temple (below ground) for that. When I got my temporary temple card, I think I was asked if I tithed, if I masturbated, and if I believed in the prophets. But according to my mum, it’s a much longer interrogation when you go for endowment and other rituals.
It isn’t an “interrogation”. In the temple recommend interview, one is essentially asked whether they believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the atonement of Jesus Christ, accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Church of Jesus Christ, if they sustain the prophets and apostles, questions related to various commandments, such as the Law of Chastity, Word of Wisdom, Tithing, honoring the covenants you have entered into, if you support those who are against the Church of Jesus Christ, if you are honest, etc. Essentially, the temple recommend interview is about whether one is an active and believing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
No, drinking caffeine does not keep you from being a “higher member in the church” (what does that mean?), nor does it keep you from becoming “the prophet”. While there are some Latter-day Saints that choose not to drink caffeinated drinks, and there are some leaders that have discouraged drinking caffeinated drinks, you aren’t any more or less a Latter-day Saint (or, more precisely, you aren’t any more or less of a follower of the Word of Wisdom) for drinking or not drinking caffeinated drinks.
And for the more orthodox LDS temples (a rumor I heard), you wouldn’t be allowed to attend services (effectively banning you from their specific temple).
There is no such thing as “more orthodox LDS temples”. Once one has a temple recommend, they are able to enter any temple around the world.
And don’t forget that because the church is run by a “prophet” and they believe that the “prophet” can change doctrine, this view towards caffeine can always change. Correct me if I’m wrong, this is all just from what I’ve heard (Never been mormon, and never plan to).
That is true. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not prohibit its members from drinking caffeine, and never has. While some leaders may have strongly discouraged it, and there are Latter-day Saints that choose to avoid drinks with caffeine in them, there is no blanked prohibition. I personally enjoy Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, red bull, etc. I know many others that do as well. Hot chocolate is okay. Herbal tea is okay.
Forgive me, but I have gone through multiple priesthood interrogations and temporary temple recommend interrogations. My mother has gone through the real deal as well as the rituals done in the temple. It is an interrogation. If Mormonism is to have any legitimacy at all, it needs to be open and transparent. I know exactly what happens in the temple because my mother has told me. But nobody else is allowed to know. We were taught to never speak about the temple outside of the temple. Compare that with any respectable faith in the 21st century. Catholicism, Protestantism, Orthodoxy, Sunni Islam, Shia Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Sikhism, Buddhism, etc ad infinitum all allow non-members to read their literature, investigate their rituals, criticize their beliefs, and come to a conclusion. Now, take all of the “religions” that are secretive and closed off. Druze, Alawi, FLDS, Manson Family, Peoples’ Temple, Scientology, and Mormonism. Plus more that I can’t think of at the moment. Do you have positive opinions of any of those, apart from your own? Why would anyone? Because they are secretive.
You and I both now the details of the church. You are in college which means you are old enough to go to the temple. So tell me, have the handshakes through the curtains given you a Christ filled life? Do you think that by cutting out the signs on your worn out temple garments before discarding them really helps keep the secret?
Interesting. You state in one post that you never reached the age where you could be Endowed, yet you say that you were taught to never speak about the temple outside of the temple. Interesting. I and other Latter-day Saints are quite comfortable stating that in baptism for the dead (what you say you have participated in), we wear white, go into the baptismal font, and we are baptized “for and in behalf of” someone who is deceased. We are immersed, and this is then repeated for various other deceased individuals.
As far as secrecy, let’s just say that your comparison is simplistic, and many of the faiths that you list as “respectable” (implying, I assume, that the faith of the Latter-day Saints is not “respectable”) have their share of secrets and/or knowledge that is not readily available to all. There are clear initiatory paths in Buddhism and Hinduism, for a start.
As far as the Endowment, I love going to the temple (I am a Doctor of Pharmacy graduate student, btw, and I am a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ, so I don’t necessarily follow the typical “age” progressions, for what it’s worth), and I especially love participating in the washing and anointing rituals. I love pondering the covenants that I entered into when I received my own Endowment when I attend the temple, especially those related to sacrifice and following the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love entering the Celestial Room and thinking about what it will be like (after enduring to the end with continuous repentance and reliance on the atonement of Christ of course) to enter into the eternal presence of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And of course receiving Divine guidance from God in His House, and feeling His presence there has really made the temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints an important part of my life.
Anyway, that is all off-topic. My point was simply to state that I don’t find the temple recommend interviews to be interrogations (you and your mother and whomever else are welcome to their opinions, as I am to mine), and you stated that you were not familiar with the “full” temple recommend interview, so I provided some insight into that. I hope it was helpful.