Why Can’t Mormons Drink Coffee? The Story Behind This Unusual Rule

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If you’re a coffee lover, you may have noticed that some people, such as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), do not drink coffee. But why is this the case? Why can’t Mormons drink coffee?

Let’s take a closer look at the reasons behind this dietary restriction.

Why Mormons Can’t Drink Coffee – The Quick Answer 

First of all, it’s important to understand that Mormons, like many other religious groups, follow a set of dietary guidelines. Theirs is known as the Word of Wisdom.

The Word of Wisdom is a revelation received by Joseph Smith, the founder of the LDS church, in 1833. It outlines certain principles of health and nutrition and is considered to be a revelation from God.

One of the key principles of the Word of Wisdom is to avoid substances that are harmful to the body. This includes alcohol, tobacco, and “hot drinks,” which are defined as tea and coffee.

Therefore, Mormons are not allowed to drink coffee or tea, as these beverages are considered harmful to the body.

Why are Hot Drinks Banned?

Unlike the Amish, who make coffee in an old-fashioned way, the Mormons have banned drinking hot drinks altogether. 

It all comes from the following quote in the Word of Wisdom: “And again, hot drinks are not for the body or the belly.” 

The reasons for this prohibition are not entirely clear, and there are different interpretations among Mormons.

Some believe that the prohibition of coffee and tea is based on their addictive qualities and other negative health effects. Others believe that it is based on the potential for caffeine-related beverages to be harmful to the body in general.

It’s worth noting that the Word of Wisdom is not considered to be a strict set of rules but rather a set of guidelines for healthy living under their God.

Therefore, Mormons are free to interpret and follow the Word of Wisdom in their own way, and some may choose to consume coffee or tea in moderation.

Additionally, the Word of Wisdom does not prohibit other sources of caffeine, such as soda or chocolate. Therefore, Mormons who wish to consume caffeine may do so through these other sources.

So, you’re probably thinking, ‘well that’s perfectly fine. If I were a Mormon, I’ll just drink iced coffee instead!’

The 1921 Rule

Hold your horses! Just because coffee isn’t hot, that doesn’t mean you are allowed to drink it! 

Unfortunately for many, in 1921, the Mormon leaders called on Mormons to strictly abide by the Word of Wisdom and stop drinking all habit-forming drinks due to the fact that they can lead to addiction. 

To this day, you will find that the majority of church leaders still warn against the consumption of coffee. However, a survey found that four in ten Mormons aged under 51 have drunk some kind of coffee drink in the last six months.

So, it seems like this rule is not being taken as seriously by many Mormons in current times. 

Can Mormons Have Caffeine?

Caffeine, a naturally occurring stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and other sources, is a subject of scrutiny for some religious groups. While many Mormons abstain from consuming alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, the stance on caffeine has been a matter of interpretation and personal choice within the Mormon community.

Surprisingly, the official doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not explicitly forbid the consumption of caffeine. The Word of Wisdom, a health code followed by Mormons, advises against “hot drinks.”

However, the definition of what constitutes a “hot drink” has evolved over time, and the Church has clarified that it refers specifically to coffee and tea. The Word of Wisdom does not mention caffeine or other caffeinated beverages explicitly.

Due to the absence of a clear directive, Mormons are left to interpret the Word of Wisdom for themselves. Some choose to extend the abstinence to include caffeine, while others do not consider it a violation. As a result, you will find a range of practices among Mormons when it comes to consuming caffeinated products.

Caffeine consumption among Mormons often depends on cultural and regional factors. For instance, in areas with a higher concentration of Mormons, such as Utah, Idaho, and parts of Arizona, caffeine consumption is generally lower due to cultural norms and traditions. On the other hand, in more liberal or diverse Mormon communities, individuals are more likely to consume caffeinated beverages without hesitation.

Recognizing the varying perspectives on caffeine, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has maintained a neutral stance on the matter. They emphasize the importance of personal revelation and decision-making, encouraging members to follow their own conscience and seek spiritual guidance when making choices regarding caffeine consumption.

Can Mormons Eat Sugar?

To understand the stance of Mormons on sugar, we must first turn to the Word of Wisdom. This is a health code outlined in the Doctrine and Covenants, a book of scripture revered by the LDS Church.

The Word of Wisdom provides guidelines on nutrition, substances to avoid, and overall well-being. It encourages members to care for their bodies, as they believe it to be a sacred gift from God.

Interestingly, the Word of Wisdom does not explicitly address sugar consumption. It primarily focuses on more significant issues such as avoiding harmful substances like alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and illegal drugs.

While sugar is not specifically mentioned, Mormons are generally encouraged to practice moderation and avoid excessive indulgence in any substances that may negatively impact their health.

Since the Word of Wisdom does not explicitly prohibit sugar, individual Mormons are given the freedom to interpret its guidelines according to their own conscience and understanding.

Some may choose to consume sugar in moderation as part of a balanced diet, while others may opt for a more restricted approach and limit their sugar intake.

Can Mormons Drink Alcohol?

The Word of Wisdom explicitly prohibits the consumption of alcohol. Mormons are encouraged to lead a sober and temperate lifestyle. This abstinence from alcohol serves several purposes within the context of their faith:

Spiritual Purity: Mormons believe that avoiding alcohol helps maintain a clear mind and spirit, enabling them to better receive divine guidance and connect with God.

Health and Well-being: The Mormon Church promotes a strong emphasis on physical and mental health. Avoiding alcohol is seen as a way to maintain a healthy body and mind.

Social Unity: Abstaining from alcohol helps foster a sense of unity and camaraderie among Mormons. It allows them to engage in social activities without the potential negative effects associated with alcohol consumption.

Personal Commitment: For Mormons, abstaining from alcohol is often seen as a personal commitment and a way to demonstrate their dedication to their faith.

While the Word of Wisdom explicitly prohibits the consumption of alcohol, it is worth noting that Mormon teachings do not explicitly forbid the use of alcohol-based products. For example, cooking with alcohol or using it as a topical antiseptic is generally considered acceptable as long as it is not consumed recreationally.

So, unfortunately, that means no sambuca, Spanish coffee, Irish coffee, or any other coffee-based alcoholic drinks!

Can Mormons Have Hot Chocolate?

Contrary to popular belief, the Word of Wisdom does not explicitly prohibit the consumption of hot chocolate. While it advises against the consumption of hot beverages containing caffeine, hot chocolate itself does not inherently contain this stimulant.

Traditional hot chocolate is typically made with cocoa powder, milk, sugar, and sometimes flavorings like vanilla or cinnamon, all of which are considered permissible for Mormons to consume.

While pure and unadulterated hot chocolate is permissible within the boundaries of Mormon dietary practices, it’s essential to note that some variations may raise potential concerns.

Certain hot chocolate mixes or ready-to-drink options available in the market may contain ingredients that Mormons might choose to avoid, such as caffeine or alcohol-based flavorings.

Therefore, it is advisable for practicing Mormons to exercise discernment when selecting hot chocolate products and to read labels carefully.

To Sum It All Up

So, Mormons do not drink coffee because it is prohibited by the Word of Wisdom.

While the reasons for this prohibition are not entirely clear, the general consensus is that coffee and tea are considered harmful to the body and should be avoided. 

However, Mormons are free to interpret and follow the Word of Wisdom in their own way, and some may choose to consume coffee or tea in moderation.