Is coffee included in the Mormon Menu, and why would it not be?
Coffee has become a much-loved drink all around the world leading back for centuries. However, the beverage doesn’t mix well with Mormonism.
No, Mormons are not allowed to drink coffee. Hot drinks such as coffee and tea are prohibited in the Mormon faith, also known as Latter-Day Saints.
In this article, we will be going into more detail about why coffee is prohibited in Mormonism, how strictly this advice is followed, and what happens if you don’t follow it.
Why Can’t Mormons Drink Coffee?
The ban on coffee comes from the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, who set restrictions in 1883, 27th of February, known as ‘Word of Wisdom’.
The aim was to help people who follow the LDS faith to create the healthiest possible lifestyles for themselves. Today, these restrictions are often seen more as guidelines.
It is here that states ‘hot drinks’ are prohibited, translated by early church members as tea and coffee.
Number 9 of Word of Wisdom aka the church doctrine; “And again, hot drinks are not for the body or the belly.
However, the coffee ban is conflicting. Historically, tea and coffee were common travel essentials for Mormons, even after 1833.
Following the murder of Joseph Smith, the Mormons were forced to flee in an attempt to avoid religious discrimination.
The migration began in the spring of 1846, 13 years later. Although Mormons tried to avoid non-Mormons, they still came across many trading posts where coffee, tea, and alcohol were popular commodities.
Mormons more or less traded all of their coffee, and their migration left them in Utah, where coffee wasn’t widely available.
There are many theories as to why coffee has been banned from the religion;
- Coffee may have potential mind-altering effects.
- Coffee is deemed unsafe because you may burn yourself on it.
- Coffee was/is suspected to cause health issues.
Can Mormons Have Cold Caffeinated Drinks?
Caffeine is not mentioned in the Word of Wisdom, therefore caffeine has never been the deciding reason as to why coffee is not on the Mormon Menu.
Rather, coffee is prohibited because it is a hot drink.
Although caffeinated sodas such as Coca-Cola were previously prohibited, the church released a statement in 2012 to explicitly say that sodas are now officially allowed under the church doctrine.
There is also nothing to say that Latter-Day Saints can’t drink iced coffee in the Word of Wisdom.
However, the church also wants to stop ‘habit-forming’ and recommends avoiding coffee and even coffee shops since caffeine is considered addictive.
Can Mormons Drink Decaf Coffee?
The church doesn’t have a position on whether Mormons can or cannot drink decaf coffee. Therefore, some people do, some don’t.
Abiding to not drink tea or coffee is a sign of faith and a symbol of the Latter-Day Saint’s loyalty to the gospel, so the choice really depends on the individual.
Do All Mormons Avoid Caffeine?
Although older generations of Mormons are still likely to avoid caffeine full stop, many millennial Mormons will not.
A 2016 survey called The Next Mormons showed that over 50% of millennial LDS’s did not feel that it was vital to follow the Word of Wisdom.
In fact, 40% of those questioned said that they had consumed coffee within the last 6 months, and 38% said they have taken either one of the following; alcohol, tea, tobacco, or other drugs.
What Happens If a Mormon Drinks Coffee?
As the restrictions set in the Word of Wisdom were created for the promotion of one’s health, rather than anything else, it is unlikely that a Latter-Day Saint will be excommunicated if they choose to consume coffee.
However, doing so does have some consequences.
In Mormonism, each person has an immortal spirit body as well as a physical body. If Mormon beliefs are not followed, the spirit is no longer pure and cannot be in the physical body.
Therefore, a Mormon who drinks coffee cannot enter any Mormon temples.
Coffee is prohibited for Mormons along with other things that are thought to be harmful to a member’s health. I
n the modern day, the Word of Wisdom is not as strictly followed as it was historically.
This means that many people will drink coffee, sodas, teas, or other caffeinated drinks without feeling restricted, while others will remain sterner.