Okay so if you’re at all familiar with
the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints, you probably already know that
members of the church don’t smoke or do other recreational drugs and they don’t
drink alcohol, coffee, or tea. We always save those two for the end. I
feel like people are always like, “Oh yeah good, smoking is bad, illegal drugs, yeah,
alcohol, man okay that makes sense. Coffee and tea?!” Don’t freak out though, we’re
gonna talk through this. It’s all part of a revelation we call the Word of Wisdom. Often times, both anciently and modern-ly, revelation comes about as the result of a question. In 1833, Joseph Smith had
started a small school called the School of the Prophets. It consisted of like 25
guys packed into a small room on the second floor of a mercantile store in
Kirtland, Ohio. These guys were big-time pipe smokers
and chewing tobacco users. It made the room nasty. Joseph’s wife Emma was just
disgusted with the tobacco soaked floor. They both lived in this mercantile at
the time so she often was the one cleaning the floors. Anyway, Joseph ends
up asking God about how to remedy the situation. The resulting revelation is
recorded in Doctrine and Covenants section 89. There’s a link in the
description below if you want to read it for yourself. It’s only 21 verses long.
The revelation called the Word of Wisdom is essentially a law of health we live
by. It’s pretty broad in some ways and pretty specific in others. It talks about
the stuff we should be eating as well as the stuff we should not. “Have they got any chips?” Currently Latter-day Saints live this law pretty strictly.
From the text though we learned that when it was first revealed, it was not
considered a commandment but rather divine counsel. Joseph Smith, Brigham
Young and their contemporaries still occasionally smoked and drank. Through
later prophets, the Word of Wisdom evolved from counsel to commandment
which I’m grateful for because statistically, Latter-day Saints that
follow this commandment live about 8 to 11 years longer than the general
population. *Forever Young playing…* But really, why are coffee and tea on
that list? What’s wrong with them? How did they make the list but the bacon double
cheeseburger with mayo didn’t? Okay, first of all, just because it’s not listed in
the Word of Wisdom doesn’t mean you should eat it. It also doesn’t mention
bleach but don’t drink bleach. But why coffee and tea? Well there’s a lot of
speculation about that. We Latter-day Saints first are very cautious of
addictive substances so some people assert that we must not be able to drink
coffee and tea because the caffeine in them is a stimulant and can be addictive.
That’s a good theory and may have something to do with it, though it’s led
to a misconception that Latter-day Saints can’t drink soda that has
caffeine in it which isn’t the case. The revelation also says it was given in
consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of
conspiring men in the last days. This calls to mind stories of big tobacco and
other companies working overtime to get you addicted to their products and
leaves the door open to those kinds of possibilities right now or in the future.
Will something or is something like this happen with tea and coffee right now?
I don’t know. When it comes right down to it, I don’t know exactly why we’re asked
not to drink coffee or tea but I believe Joseph Smith was a prophet so I’m not
gonna drink it. You might remember a certain leper
in the Old Testament called Naman in 2 Kings. Naman hears about a man in
Samaria who could apparently heal people. His name was Elisha, he was a prophet.
Naman, having nothing to lose but his limbs… leprosy joke… Naman, having nothing to lose but his
limbs traveled to Elijah’s house to see if the rumors were true.
Elisha doesn’t meet Naman personally but rather sends out a messenger to him.
The messenger said to Naman, “Go and wash in Jordan seven times and thy flesh
shall come again to thee and thou shalt be clean. Naman’s response was similar to
how many people respond to the tea and coffee thing. He thought it was
ridiculous. The Jordan River had no healing powers. In fact, it was a pretty
nasty River but eventually Naman tried it out. Lo and behold, he was healed. When
it comes to tea and coffee, many people outside our faith pass our belief off as
blah, mindless obedience. Hopefully we disagree.
We’d call it faith obedience. We have faith that it’s instruction that God
currently would like us to live by even if we don’t understand why. That rhymed.
Check out the link to our website in the description for more information about
the Word of Wisdom. I’ll throw a few other helpful resources in there for you
as well and we’ll see you next time. Have a great day. Nothing to lose but his
limbs, travel — hahahahah such a good pun